By Andrew White | Staff Writer
On Oct. 3, freshman running back A.J. Hines was named NEC Rookie of the Week for week five of the 2016 football season. Hines rushed 134 yards on 28 carries and added a touchdown on an 11-yard reception in Saturday’s 54-35 win over Jacksonville University.
This marks the running back’s fourth straight Rookie of the Week award after he turned in dominating performances in the three prior weeks. With the most recent award the 5-foot-11, 220 pound back has set a new Duquesne record for the most Rookie of the Week awards with four, breaking a tie he held with current starting quarterback Dillon Buechel, among others. With the way the season is going and with six games left on the schedule, it seems Hines may be primed to raise that total even more.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect this much success so early on; it just happened,” Hines said. “But I’m grateful for the opportunity to succeed.”
In the week two game against Bucknell, Hines led the Dukes to a 30-19 win over the Bison in the 2016 home opener at Rooney Field. The running back had 74 yards and three touchdowns on just 10 carries, while winning his first career Rookie of the Week award.
The following week, non-conference rival Dayton came to town, and Hines got his first career collegiate start and continued his success, racking up 189 yards on the ground while adding two touchdowns in the Dukes 34-20 victory. Hines was not only recognized as NEC Rookie of the Week, but also added the STATS FCS National Freshman Player of the Week for his contributions in the win.
Hines rushed for 91 yards on 25 carries and added 64 receiving yards on four catches as Duquesne dropped its homecoming game to Kennesaw State University 36-28 in week four.
The true freshman out of Wilson, North Carolina, has burst onto the scene for the 3-2 Dukes. Hines currently leads the team in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and all purpose yards as a freshman. The running back has totaled 507 yards rushing and another 72 yards receiving, while tallying six total touchdowns — five of those on the ground.
The former Fike High School running back started his last three years in high school and was named all-conference for all of them and all-state in the last. Hines rushed for over 3,000 yards and more than 50 touchdowns in his high school career for the Demons.
Originally a University of Richmond commit, Hines signed his national letter of intent to play for Duquesne in June 2016.
“They treat me like family here,” Hines said. “That’s what I really like about playing here.”
Hines certainly hasn’t let his quick collegiate success get to his head, though, as he remains a humble guy who is thankful for the efforts of the guys up front as well as the coaching staff.
“First, the [offensive] line: They do a lot for me and give me the holes to create the plays,” Hines said. “And second, the coaches for putting me in a position to succeed.”
After a bye week this weekend, the Dukes face off against the crosstown, NEC rival Robert Morris.