Name: Christopher Hinton, Jr.
Weight: 310 lbs.
High school: Johns Creek (GA) Greater Atlanta Christian
Position: Defensive tackle
Jersey number: #15
Last year: I ranked Hinton #11 and said he would be a part-time starting nose tackle (LINK). He started four games and made 13 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 2 pass breakups.
TTB Rating: 90
Hinton started off his college career at 285 lbs. in 2019, was up to 305 for 2020, and is now listed at 310 lbs. All the while his projection has morphed. At one time as a recruit, he was listed as a strongside end. Then he was a defensive tackle. Then he was getting a look at nose tackle. The whole defense was pretty abysmal in 2020, and some of that can be attributed to the production – or lack thereof – from Hinton and his defensive linemates. Michigan quite simply did not hold at the point of attack, especially on the interior, and then the unit was hurt even more when Kwity Paye and Aidan Hutchinson got injured.
I think the move to a three-man front in 2021 will be beneficial for Hinton, who seems to me to make more sense as a 3-4 tackle (or end) rather than a 3-tech or strongside end. The position is probably never going to rack up counting stats, but playing on the inside shoulder of the tackle, he should free up the inside and outside linebackers to make plays. Teams frequently have to double those 4i tackles and use combo blocks to get to the second level, and those can be tricky. Hinton will likely be a starter at one defensive tackle spot, and I expect him to have a solid season and start to live up to that 5-star potential.
Prediction: Starting defensive tackle; 25 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks