Just over two decades have passed since Clarkston Hines enjoyed a record-setting career with the Blue Devils, but on Tuesday night in New York City, the dynamic wide receiver achieved the highest compliment in the game as a member of the 2010 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision Class.
"It is an honor to be inducted," Hines said on Tuesday. "I love the fact that I'm representing Duke."
The ceremony – held in conjunction with the National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner – was held at the at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel. Hines was joined at the prestigious event by his wife, brother-in-law and father. In addition, Duke head coach David Cutcliffe and South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier – Hines' coach with the Blue Devils from 1987-89 – also were on hand.
"I saw Clarkston Hines up close and personal, and in a conversation with him, I told him, 'Nobody has to tell me how good you were,'" said Cutcliffe. "There are very few players that you use the word 'dominating' with. Clarkston Hines was able to dominate a game at receiver."
In Duke's 31-26 road victory over Tennessee in 1988 – with Cutcliffe watching from the opposite sideline as an assistant coach with the Volunteers – Hines caught eight passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns.
"He couldn't be covered one-on-one and he had a knack for making touchdown catches that changed games," Cutcliffe noted.
With Spurrier at the helm of the Duke offense, Hines flourished despite hauling in passes from four different quarterbacks – Steve Slayden, Anthony Dilweg, Billy Ray and Dave Brown – in three seasons. Hines, who had over 1,000 receiving yards in 1987, 1988 and 1989, received first team All-America accolades following both his junior and senior campaigns.
"He's still one of the most competitive and toughest receivers I've ever coached," Spurrier said. "I always tell him my favorite play that he made was against N.C. State in 1988. He caught a middle route and they were sort of waiting on it and one safety hit him high and a couple linebackers hit him low. He made the catch from about 16 yards, and they sort of hurt him, but he wouldn't let them know that it hurt him. He got up, shook his shoulder pads a little bit, as if to say, 'you dudes can't hurt me. Let's go play another play.' And that was the kind of player he was. He was there every play. He was not only a tremendous leader, but just an outstanding person and one of the top receivers that I've had the good fortune of coaching all these years."
On Tuesday, Hines recalled a knee injury suffered early in his career.
"I didn't know how serious that type of injury was," he said regarding a torn anterior cruciate ligament. "I just wanted to get back on the field. I was determined to make the most of it."
And make the most of it, he did, starring for the Blue Devils from 1986-89 and finishing his career with 189 pass receptions for 3,318 yards and 38 touchdowns. As a senior in 1989, he earned ACC Player of the Year honors while helping Duke win a share of the conference championship with a 6-1 league record.
A native of Chapel Hill, N.C., Hines holds school career records for pass receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and 100-yard receiving games (17) while holding school single-season standards for receiving yards (1,149 in 1989), receiving touchdowns (17 in 1989), 100-yard receiving games (6 in both 1987 & 1988) and total points (104 in 1989).
On the ACC's career lists, Hines continues to rank first in touchdown receptions, first in 100-yard receiving games, third in receiving yards and ninth in pass receptions. A three-time first team All-ACC selection, he is the only player in league history to pace the conference in receiving yardage three consecutive seasons and continues to hold the conference single-season record for touchdown catches.
Nicknamed the "Frequent Flyer", Hines was a nine-time ACC Player of the Week honoree, and led Duke's 1989 squad to the league crown and an 8-4 overall record with an appearance in the All American Bowl, where he caught six passes for 112 yards in a loss to Texas Tech. Duke's team MVP as a senior, he later represented Duke in both the Japan and Senior Bowls.
After graduating from Duke as the NCAA's all-time leader in touchdown receptions and only the second player in history with three 1,000-yard receiving seasons, Hines was a ninth round selection of the Buffalo Bills in the 1990 NFL Draft. He was inducted into the Duke Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.
Other members of the class include former players Dennis Byrd (DT; N.C. State, 1964-67), Ronnie Caveness (C; Arkansas, 1962-64), Ray Childress (DL; Texas A&M, 1981-84), Randy Cross (OG; UCLA, 1973-75), Sam Cunningham (RB; Southern California, 1970-72), Mark Herrmann (QB; Purdue, 1977-80), Desmond Howard (WR; Michigan, 1989-91), Chet Moeller (DB; Navy, 1973-75), Jerry Stovall (HB; LSU, 1960-62), Pat Tillman (LB; Arizona State, 1994-97) and Alfred Williams (LB; Colorado, 1987-90). In addition, two former head coaches - Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin, 1990-05) and Gene Stallings (Alabama, 1990-96) - join the group.
Hines becomes the 10th former Blue Devil to earn enshrinement into the College Football Hall of Fame, joining Fred Crawford (inducted in 1973), Al DeRogatis (1986), Dan Hill (1962), Steve Lach (1980), George McAfee (1961), Mike McGee (1990), Bill Murray (1974), Ace Parker (1955) and Eric Tipton (1965). In addition to McGee and Murray, other former Duke head coaches Howard Jones (1951) and Wallace Wade (1955) also have been inducted.