Linebacker, Miami (Ohio)
6-foot-1, 205 pounds, senior
Hometown Westlake, Ohio
Member of the 2009 Under-19 U.S. National Team that surrendered a total of 3 points in three games en route to winning a gold medal in the first IFAF Under-19 World Championship.
It’s safe to say every coach would probably want a player like Miami (Ohio) linebacker Pat Hinkel.
He exemplifies what it means to be a team player.
Passion, dedication, team-oriented and self-sacrifice are just a few qualities Hinkel displays for Miami on the football field.
The 2009 Under-19 U.S. National team alum made the switch from safety – a position he has played since his days at Cleveland St. Ignatius High School under 2009 U.S. Under-19 National Team head coach Chuck Kyle – to linebacker this year for the betterment of the team.
Hinkel’s hard work is paying dividends in 2012, as he is currently the RedHawks’ third-leading tackler with 53 stops though eight games to go with six passes defended, three interceptions and one sack.
Miami (4-4) is coming off its biggest win of the season, an upset victory Oct. 27 over previously unbeaten and then-No. 24 Ohio, 23-20. Hinkel helped his team with six tackles, including his first sack of the year, and a pass breakup in the win.
The RedHawks hope to carry that momentum on the road against Buffalo this Saturday.
Hinkel recently caught up with USA Football to share his thoughts on Miami’s 2012 season and what he remembers most about his experience with Team USA.
What goals do you have for your senior season, individual and team? The overall team goal is to win the MAC, go to a bowl game and win the bowl game. We’re on pace to do both, so we need to keep getting better each day. Individually, after putting the team first, I just want to help put our team in a position to win the game.
How has the season started out so far toward those goals? We’re 3-1 in the MAC, but we have to come prepared each week to make it a playoff atmosphere. Our eyes are on the MAC championship.
How has your transition from safety to linebacker been and what did you do to prepare for the move? It’s been a bigger adjustment than I originally thought it would be. I’ve had to re-learn the defense at my Will linebacker position. I know the concepts, but it’s been more detailed than I thought. During the offseason, Coach (Paul) Harker, our strength coach, did a great job with me in the weight room. He helped me put on weight and become stronger.
What has been the best advice a coach has given you to help you on the field? My coach at St. Ignatius made a simple comment to me; he said to ‘play fast!’ I’ve always taken that to heart, and I’ve tried to play like that during my career here at Miami. If you’re going to make a mistake, you’ve got to do it playing fast.
What has been the best advice a coach has given you about life in general? Probably just to do things right the first time, never take the easy way out.
What do you remember about playing for Team USA? I remember coming out for the championship game vs. Canada and the whole crowd at Canton McKinley’s Fawcett Stadium chanting “USA! USA!” It was one of the coolest feelings I’ve ever had. Representing your country at that level is awesome. It’s cool to keep in touch with the other players on the team and watch them progress in their careers.
Would you recommend the experience to a high school senior who is now considering whether to participate? Yes, I would definitely recommend it. I’m grateful that Miami allowed me to do so. Twenty years from now, I won’t regret having that experience.
Photo courtesy Miami University
Other Team USA Flashbacks: