Today we introduce a weekly series we will be featuring this season on Ohio’s top player in the Class of 2010 – West Chester Lakota West linebacker Jordan Hicks. In the first installment, Hicks discusses the season-opening loss to Northmont last week, his top colleges choices, the pressures of recruiting and looks ahead to Lakota West’s Week 2 opponent Lancaster.
With great success comes even greater challenges – just ask West Chester Lakota West star linebacker Jordan
Hicks, the top-rated player in Ohio’s 2010 recruiting class
by Ohio High magazine and the No. 2 rated player in the country according
to ESPN.com, has taken the reins of one of those major challenges into his own hands.
As one of the most sought after prospects in the country,
Hicks (6-2, 200) is no stranger to attention whether it’s phones calls, text messages or emails
from coaches, recruiters or members of the media. In an attempt to ease the
pressure and appease everyone looking to get a piece of Hicks, the Lakota West Athletic Department has
scheduled weekly teleconferences throughout the season making Hicks available to
“Everyday I am getting something new. So, it was starting
to get a little bit overwhelming and this was a good idea,” Hicks said.
The summer camp and combine period was particularly
intense, according to Lakota West head coach Larry Cox, but has calmed down with
the season now underway.
“I respect the fact that as we got closer to the season
through two-a-days, the calls actually went down (in volume),” Cox said. “Given
the idea that coaches are going to start calling now starting September 1, you’re going to start seeing volume go up. That will evolve naturally because he
obviously has some big decisions to make, so I felt like this would be the
better direction to take at this point.”
Lakota West opened the season last week with a 7-6 loss to Clayton
Northmont in the annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown last week. Hicks had 12
tackles (nine solo) and a late interception setting up the touchdown that
pulled the Firebirds within one point
But the point after attempt was blocked sealing the loss.
“It was frustrating,” Hicks said of the season-opening
loss. “We prepared all summer for it and we had it in our mind that we were
going to win but sometimes it doesn’t work that way. We just have to get better.
“The whole defense kind of came together and held
(Northmont) to seven points, which is really good. So, it’s not just
individuals doing that. It was the whole defense as a whole.”
While trying to focus on his senior season, Hicks has
narrowed his list of favorite colleges down to Ohio State, USC, Alabama, Texas,
Florida and Georgia.
Though he has yet to schedule any official visits, Hicks did
mention he is going to be on hand for the marquee Ohio State-USC match up
September 12 in Columbus.
“I think I am definitely going to the (Ohio State-USC) game
whether it is an official visit or not,” he said.
Hicks said he has visited Ohio State the most of any of the schools
“They are always a good program,” Hicks said of the Buckeyes.
“I am comfortable with the staff, I know a lot of the players
on the team and I like (linebackers coach Luke Fickell).
Fickell is recruiting Hicks for the Buckeye.
“I just like everything about Ohio State.”
USC linebackers coach and former NFL veteran Ken Norton, Jr. is recruiting
“USC has always been that powerhouse, so I have always liked
them,” he said. “Coach Norton – I have talked to him a few times lately and he
came and visited the school and we sat down and talked for a little while. We
have a good relationship and he has talked to my mom before.”
Texas has long been believed to be one of the frontrunners
for Hicks. Longhorns linebackers coach Will Muschamp is recruiting him.
“I’ve always liked Texas,” Hicks said. “Coach Muschamp – I
like his style. He coaches with a lot of energy. He tries to teach and I like
that out of a coach and I want to learn the game.
“I call (Texas) once every two weeks or so, so I stay in
Alabama is one of three SEC schools Hicks is seriously
“Their program is always good,” he said. “With (head coach
Nick Saban), he means business. He’s a mastermind as a head coach and knows the
game of football. I just feel like there is a lot to learn by going there and
trying to make it to the next level.”
Hicks is being recruited by Alabama linebackers coach Sal Sunseri.
“I’ve talked to coach Sal and our relationship is actually
really good,” Hicks said. “He has talked to my mom a few times and talks to me
all the time. I like coach Sal a lot. He is someone I could see myself playing
“I’ve talked to Coach Sal and Coach Saban and I like them
both a lot.”
Hicks believes he would do well playing in the SEC.
“(It is) known as the best conference in football. The
speed of the game is different and the style of play – I think fits me,” he
With his list narrowed down, Hicks knows what he will be
looking for once he visits each campus.
“When I do go on my official visits, I am just going to try
and take away what I can from each school and try to compare them so I can
visualize myself playing at that school and in the system,” he said.
There is a possibility Hicks could graduate high school
early – a trend that is becoming more common amongst blue-chip athletes
so they can get a head start on their college careers.
“I am still in the deciding stage,” he said. “My schedule
is set up right now so that if I decide to I can just go ahead and graduate
early – but no decision yet.”
With a full plate of recruiting in front of him, Hicks
still has his senior season to play as he tries to lead Lakota West to the
playoffs for the first time since 2006. The Firebirds will play their
home-opener Friday as they welcome Lancaster.
“We’re just trying to learn from our mistakes (against
Northmont),” he said. “We’re going over the film and trying to put that behind us
and we’re focused on Lancaster.”
And whether it is the attention he is getting, the pressures recruiting process or his senior season, all are challenges Hicks is up for.
time, I am just trying to focus on high school football and trying to win games
and doing what I need to do to get better,” he said.
“At the same time, (the recruiting process) is in the back
of my mind. I am not trying to say it’s not tough – because it is – but I am just
trying to keep everything in focus and have my priorities straight.”