That bond began with a love for the game at a very young age, but the Hinsleys’ route to the UWG program is one that is rather unique in itself.
Seth Hinsley, a 5-foot-10, 225-pound sophomore running back, has been on Dickey’s radar since the West Georgia coaching staff began recruiting him as a prep star at Norcross High School.
And after seeing time in the UWG backfield last season as a true freshman, Seth Hinsley has taken on the role as the featured back in the Wolves’ rushing attack, which leads the Gulf South Conference at 257.5 yards per contest through two ball games this season behind the former four-sport prep star’s GSC-best 94 yards per game.
“We’ve known all along that we’ve got a really good football player in Seth Hinsley. I think this year, hopefully, he can continue to get better at his game, get a feel for defenses and I think he’s a really good Gulf South Conference football player,” Dickey said.
When it came time for Isaiah Hinsley to decide where he wanted to go to college, it wasn’t even certain that he would play at the next level.
As an undersized defensive tackle in high school — standing just 5-foot-8, 215 pounds — the offers weren’t exactly rolling in for younger brother.
Isaiah Hinsley actually caught the eye of the UWG coaching staff at a tryout for high school players late last spring. Dickey knew of him a little bit, but largely because his older brother was in the program. Since that time, it’s been more of what Isaiah Hinsley, easily one of the smallest defensive linemen in all of Division II, has done since rec ball — proven people wrong.
Not only has the younger Hinsley earned a spot as a freshman walk-on at West Georgia, he’s ultimately worked his way into the defensive rotation on the front line and continues to be a pleasant surprise for the UWG coaching staff.
“Well, he really has. He’s kind of a unique commodity in that he’s not blessed with great size, but his heart is bigger than anybody’s we’ve got. He loves to play the game, he’s intense about it, he’s very, very coachable. He’s just got a knack for getting things done on the football field. He’s a real special player,” Dickey said.
Isaiah Hinsley said it’s never bothered him being out-sized in the trenches, noting that he’s learned to use what many consider a liability to his advantage. And more often than not, he’s the one that has the last laugh.
“I can just see it in their eyes. They just kind of look at me like, ‘Oh, really? You’re really going to put me against this guy?’ But that’s OK,” Isaiah Hinsley said.
Seth Hinsley had no doubt his younger brother could compete in the toughest conference in Division II.
“I know he’s got heart. I know my brother’s got heart. I know what he’s made of. So it’s not a thing for me to see him out there. When I see him out there, it just makes me happy. Because I know what he’s going through, what he’s capable of. And I know these other linemen that are just sitting there at 270-plus and are just looking at him like, ‘Oh, this little guy? I know I can handle him.’ But they don’t know what it is that I know and how much heart he has. I don’t care if he weighs 190, it’s just something he’s always had,” Seth Hinsley said.
While the younger Hinsley brother had some opportunities to play elsewhere, Seth Hinsley said he never tried to pressure him into coming to UWG. But now that his younger brother is here, Seth Hinsley is grateful to call him a teammate once again.
“In the back of my mind, I always wanted him to come up here. But I never wanted to force it upon him. I just sat back and sat back and watched him go to college visits and watch him talk to other schools. I supported him with whatever he wanted to do. But the minute I saw a little bit of opening about him thinking about West Georgia, I tried to make sure we had him. Because it does make a big difference to be able to play on the same team with somebody I’ve played with my whole lifetime,” Seth Hinsley said.
And now back together again, they can’t help but reflect on old games in the backyard.
“It was just great times. Great times. We always competed with each other. He always made me play harder and I always pushed him to play hard. You know, we took football very seriously from the time we were real young. Nobody ever really wanted to play backyard football with us, so we had to go play with the older guys,” Seth Hinsley recalls. “When we got into the weight room, we always worked together. We’ve just always had each other’s back from Day 1.”
The family atmosphere in the West Georgia program extends well beyond blood, as Seth Hinsley said the bond he has with his younger brother is one that is shared between all his teammates.
“The way I look at it, this is a brotherhood. I look at each person that puts on that West Georgia uniform the same that I look at my little brother, who is actually blood to me. That just makes me want to do what I have to do for them. It’s not me playing for myself. I’m doing it for the whole team,” Seth Hinsley said. “So when I say I’m doing it for my family, I don’t just mean my blood. I mean the people I play with and the people I call my brothers.”
The Wolves (2-0) will try to build on their strong start to the 2012 season when they hit the road for the first time this year to battle Miles College (1-1) on Saturday night at 7 in Fairfield, Ala.
Dickey said the Bears will provide a tough test for his team with the GSC opener right around the corner next Saturday at No. 24 West Alabama.
“It will be an opportunity to take another step in the right direction. It’s going to be all about us and not about [Miles]. As much as we know they’re a good football team, it’s going to be about how we execute and how we’re prepared and how we’re able to play,” Dickey said.
And while it’s been a promising start for the Wolves this fall, they understand there’s bigger goals and challenges on the horizon.
“Things are going pretty well right now. But we know we can do a lot better. Good has been good enough, but y’all will know our best when you see it. We haven’t got to our full potential yet,” Seth Hinsley said.