Texas A&M has finally arrived at game week for its 2020 season opener, carrying a top-15 ranking and high expectations for year three of the Jimbo Fisher era into its game against Vanderbilt on Saturday. It will not, however, have a key defender as linebacker Anthony Hines announced Sunday that he plans to opt out of the 2020 season.
Hines started in all 13 games for the Aggies in 2019, finishing as the team's second-leading tackler with 73 stops and 10.5 tackles for loss. The fourth-year junior saw spot duty as a freshman in 2017 and redshirted the 2018 season because of an injury prior to his breakout in 2019. An in-state talent coming to Texas A&M as a four-star prospect out of Plano, Texas, Hines mentioned both the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of the world as motivating factors to his decision to opt out of the season.
"This year has been a wild ride to say the least," Hines wrote on Twitter. "With everything taking place in the world right now, from the pandemic, to the blatant injustices being committed towards people of color, it's difficult to be 100% locked in to the game of football right now. I can't help but see this time as an opportunity to try & make a difference in my community. With that being said, I have chosen to opt out of the 2020 football season."
Hines is the Aggies' second returning starter to opt out in as many weeks, following wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon's announcement last Sunday. While Ausbon indicated that he was opting out with plans to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft, Hines did not express the same kind of finality in terms of his relationship to the team and the program. Thanks to the NCAA's eligibility ruling for the 2020 fall season, Hines can remain a junior with two years of college football after opting out.