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Hine earns scholar award

USF senior offensive lineman Chaz Hine was named a 2011 National Football Foundation (NFF) Scholar-Athlete on Wednesday, making him a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy.

The NFF chooses 16 recipients every year for the annual award. Each player receives an $18,000 scholarship after graduation and will be honored in New York City at an awards dinner in December.

Hine graduated magna cum laude from the Honors College at USF in May with a degree in business management and is now working toward his M.B.A. He has played in 40 games with USF, starting 32 of those, including all seven games this season at center.

“Just trying to stay focused at a high level for high periods of time is really, you know, where it happens,” Hine said. “I’ve been fortunate. I’ve been able to dig deep at study times when exams come, big projects. I’ve been able to focus over long periods of time and motivate myself to be able to finish what I need to. I’ve had a great support system my entire life.”

Hine said receiving such a prestigious award humbles him.

“You know, I am joyous,” Hine said. “I am proud of what I have been able to do and proud of this University. It’s incredibly humbling, at the same time, to think that this impressive organization, the NFF, would think well enough of me and my accomplishments and then recognize me in such a manner. It’s a humbling experience, and I am so thankful.” Hine switched from offensive guard to center before his senior season, and offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said he is a model of consistency on and off the field.

“Consistency is probably the best quality you can have in anything in life and he has been that, and not only just consistent, but consistently good play,” Fitch said. “Thought it was a good move for spring, but really sometimes you make those moves and it turns out to be good or so-so. This has turned out to be a really good move for us. He’s taken to it really, really well … You like to see good things happen to good people, and that’s what’s fun about this job. I mean, it’s tough losing some games like we have, but things like that happen that kind of, you know, makes you think back a little bit to that there’s other things in this game.”

He was also named a finalist for the Awards and Recognition Association Sportsmanship Award on Wednesday. He is one of 10 national finalists.

Open date

The second open date for the USF football team is another opportunity for second-team players to get more reps and experience, Fitch said.

“Coach (Holtz) put an emphasis on the (backups), really,” Fitch said. “They got a lot of reps yesterday. They’ll get a lot of reps again today, just because, with an injury to Sterling Griffin that we talked about, as you go into a five-game stretch where there’s going to be a lot of nicks on both sides of the ball and those twos have got to step up.

“Andre Davis and Ruben Gonzalez and Deonte Welch – those guys were contributing factors in that last game for us offensively. The next man, you don’t know who it’s going to be, so this week is going to be really, really pivotal to get into action.”