The Hicks Report: All-American linebacker returns to the field, narrows college field


Back on the field for Lakota West, Jordan Hicks is eying the second half of the season (Photo by Nick Falzerano)

After sitting in Week 4 due to illness, the Under Armour All-American linebacker Jordan Hicks from West Chester Lakota West returned to the grid iron last week for the Firebirds. Hicks discussed getting back on the field, the school he has dropped from his top six, his contact with college coaches and his next official visit in his weekly teleconference.

To quote the rock-and-roll band Aerosmith, Jordan Hicks is
“Back in the saddle again!” 

After sitting out of a 20-6 win over Hamilton in Week 4 due
to illness, the Under Armour All-American linebacker from West Chester Lakota
West returned to the grid iron last week for the Firebirds.

Hicks discussed getting back on the field, the school he
has dropped from his top six, his contact with college coaches and his next
official visit in his weekly teleconference.

Off The Shelf

Following a bout with strep throat, Hicks strapped on the
shoulder pads again last week for a 28-17 win over Greater Miami Conference foe
Cincinnati Sycamore. He tallied 18 tackles (4.0 for loss) in his return, which is one shy of the single game school record.

“I just enjoy going out there and playing,” Hicks said.
“Hitting is one of my favorite things to do. I like getting big hits and going
out there and tackling.

“I feel great.”

Lakota West (4-1) head coach Larry Cox also feels great
having his blue-chip player back on the field.

“It’s more of a leadership thing,” he said. “I like having
Jordan out there because of the leadership he brings to the team. I think that’s
the biggest thing.

“It was great to get that win against Hamilton without him
because it solidified with the kids that we are a team and not individuals.
Don’t get me wrong – I still like going into the game with Jordan there – it
provides a little bit more leadership there.

“Since we’re past the halfway point of the season heading
into game six now, we really want to start looking at where we want to be in
games eight, nine and ten.”

Looking Back

At the midpoint of the season, Lakota West is a 1-point,
season-opening loss to Clayton Northmont away from being undefeated. The
Firebirds sit at No. 7 in Division I, Region 4 in this week’s Harbin Computer

“When you’re sitting at 4-1, you’ve got to assess (the
first half of the season) as pretty good,” Cox said. “It’s not perfect but
that’s okay because it gives us something to shoot for in the second half.”

In four games, Hicks has tallied 39.5 tackles (8.5 for
loss, 15 assists) a fumble recovery and an interception.

“We know that every game is a playoff game and that’s how
we’ve got to treat it if we want to get to our goals and we’ve just got to keep
our mindset like that and keep working harder each week,” Hicks said.

Looking Ahead

If the season ended today, Lakota West would qualify for
the postseason but we are only halfway home. The Firebirds have the bulk of the
GMC schedule remaining.

“As we get into the second half of the season, we want to
keep working to improve – that is the biggest thing,” said Cox. “I’d like to
think over the years as a program we’ve done that and we’re playing our best
ball at the end of the season.

“Outside of the Northmont game, we feel pretty good about
where we’re at. We’re not where we were and we’re not where we want to be and
we’re not where we’re going to be. We’ll keep striving to make improvements to
be where we need to be and make the adjustments we have to.

“This group of seniors has same high, lofty goals and to do
that, we’re going to have to constantly improve.”

Trap On Tap?

Lakota West kicks off the second half of the season this
week against Mason. The Comets (1-4) are desperate for a win and will hit the
road looking for one against the Firebirds.

“The onus is on us and we’ve got to get to a point where we
can’t worry about who we play,” said Cox. “We can’t control how the other team
plays. That’s on them and we can only control how we play. The real competition
is that against yourself and how well you prepare yourself and how well you
prepare yourself throughout the week to become a better football player.

“There are weeks where you’re going to have good teams,
great teams and some average teams but you can’t control that. There are going
to be average teams that step up. I want us to outplay people on a weekly basis
and that has to happen with how we mentally approach this.

“I don’t want to say a team is a specific trap team because
that would be disrespecting our league and it is going to be a war every time
you step out there.”

Quite The Guest List

There will be some noteworthy coaches on hand for the Mason
match up scouting what ESPN Scouts, Inc. considers the No. 2 rated player in the

Alabama assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Coach Sal Sunseri,
Texas Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach Will
Muschamp, and potentially Florida Quarterbacks Coach Scot Loeffler are
all scheduled to make the trip to the Buckeye State to check out Hicks.

But he is not intimidated by the guest list.

“I try not to worry about it,” he said. “I just try and go
out there and play my game. That’s the reason they are here in the first place
so I just have to go out there and play my game.”

Southern California Linebackers Coach and former NFL
veteran Ken Norton, Jr. will be on hand for the Fairfield game next week.

“I guess interest is still pretty strong with the coaches
making these trips,” said Cox.

Talkin’ Texas

Hicks took his first official visit to Ohio State on Sept.
12 for the USC game and his only other scheduled official visit is to Texas for
the Colorado game on Oct. 10.

It has long been believed Hicks’ decision will come down to
Ohio State and Texas.

“(I am looking forward to seeing the) game atmosphere. I
haven’t seen a game yet,” he said of his pending trip to Austin. “(I am also
looking forward to) getting more of a tour around campus. I haven’t seen the
dorms yet and I’ve only seen the football facilities.

“(I am looking forward to) getting to know and talk to the
players and just talking to the academic people and all the people that are
going to be in my life the next four years and how they will affect my life and
how they will be.”

Hicks talks to Muschamp regularly and has routinely
discussed his solid relationship with the Longhorns coach.

“He is a real good guy. I like him a lot. I probably talk
to him once a week or once every other week,” Hicks said. “He is a personal guy
and I can talk to him. He calls me after games and wants to know how we did. I
get the feeling he cares.

“The energy (Muschamp) brings to games and practices and
football in general – I definitely like that a lot.”

Hicks also feels comfortable with Texas’ system.

“They actually run the same scheme we run,” he said. “I
would just have to go in there and learn the terminology and the learn some of
the things they do different.”

Peach State Canned

With apologies to legendary musician Ray Charles, for
Hicks, Georgia is not on his mind.

Hicks has whittled his final five schools down to
aforementioned Ohio State, Texas, Florida, Alabama and USC eliminating the
Bulldogs from the running.

“Not at this point anymore,” Hicks said when asked if he
was still considering Georgia.

*    *    *

The Hicks Report Archive

Sept. 22, 2009 –

Ohio’s top player talks Florida, Ohio State, hoops, more

Sept. 15, 2009 –

Ohio State official visit impressive for Hicks, mom

Sept. 8, 2009 –

First official visit to feature Troy’s invasion of Columbus

Aug. 30, 2009

Taking control


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