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Arkansas Football Countdown: 9 Days - Will Hines

SINGLE DIGITS, Y'ALL!

Wesley Hitt

We're within single digits of kickoff, so I hope all of you are getting serious about football at this point. Tailgate plans are getting finalized. Gameday wardrobe getting settled. It's almost go-time. We'll get to watch Ole Miss vs Vanderbilt just one week from tonight.

And our countdown continues with #9, sophomore cornerback Will Hines.

Hines was thrust into action as a true freshman last season, eventually starting the last nine games and tallying 24 tackles, a pass breakup, and an interception.

Coming into his sophomore year, he's shown he has talent to start. Here's what Bret Bielema said about him after spring practice:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Bielema on Will Hines: I told him, I can&#39;t recruit a cornerback that is physically what you are... I think the upside for him is great.</p>&mdash; Bo Mattingly (@SportsTalkwBo) <a href="https://twitter.com/SportsTalkwBo/statuses/326429179790893056">April 22, 2013</a></blockquote>

<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

But Hines has spent the offseason battling redshirt freshman Jared Collins for the second starting cornerback slot. Here's what defensive coordinator Chris Ash said about them last week:

Ash issued a challenge to cornerbacks Jared Collins and Will Hines this week: Who wants to join the starting group?

"Right now it’s wide open," Ash said after Tuesday’s practice. "Neither one of them has been consistent enough. Neither one of them has stepped up and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to take this thing and run with it.’ Somebody’s got to.

"We’ve got to play with one of them and right now I’m not sure who it’s going to be."

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Position coach Taver Johnson said Hines had issues getting out of breaks, adding Hines needed more "knee bend" to play the position.

"Both of those guys are doing a good job," Johnson said. "Both are right there. I couldn't give a good answer who is where, but both are doing a good job."

No matter which is the official starter, both Collins and Hines are expected to see plenty of action on the field this fall. Hopefully Hines is able to continue developing and improve on the potential he exhibited last season. Hines and Collins have the potential to be a constant presence in Arkansas' backfield for the next few years.