Hicks picks Texas; Nation's No. 1 linebacker leaving the state
Fittingly, two of Ohio State’s biggest disappointments in recent years have come at the hands of Florida and Texas. Friday, the Longhorns landed another good punch. When Jordan Hicks reached down and picked up the burnt orange hat, Buckeye fans clear in Cleveland were cursing before it reached his head. Florida rounded out his final three.
WEST CHESTER – Fittingly, two of Ohio State’s biggest disappointments in recent years have come at the hands of Florida and Texas. Friday, the Longhorns landed another good punch.
Among a throng of family, friends, relatives and native Buckeyes, Lakota West senior linebacker Jordan Hicks – the nation’s No. 4 overall prospect according to ESPN Scouts Inc. – selected Texas over Ohio State and Florida.
When Hicks reached down and picked up the burnt orange hat, Buckeye fans clear in Cleveland were cursing before it reached his head. Hicks is just the second player from Ohio to play football for Texas.
No less than 10 TV stations and countless other media were on hand.
“As I thought back to this day, we started this odyssey when he was in the eighth grade and I can remember sitting in my office with him talking about the future and where it was going to take him,” Lakota West head coach Larry Cox said. “At that time it was taking him to the University of North Carolina to play basketball. It’s amazing how time has evolved and changed his mind.”
Said Hicks, flanked by his mom and sister: “Coming back from each visit I felt like that place was the place for me but that’s just how you feel coming back from those visits. When I sat back and thought about it Texas was the right place for me. There were a lot of similarities between all three schools but the differences were the little things like the trust factor and that they showed they listened to what we said. It was clear Texas was the place.”
Hicks, rated Ohio’s No. 1 prospect by Ohio High/JJHuddle.com and The Ohio Football Recruiting News, was a USA Today All-USA first-team pick and participated in the Under Armour All-American Game on ESPN earlier this month. Today Hicks was notified he was a first team Parade All-American. Hicks was first team and the defensive player of the year on the 2009 Ohio High All-Ohio Team (all divisions).
As a senior, Hicks tallied 95 tackles, 13 tackles-for-loss, three sacks and two interceptions en route to leading Lakota West to a Division I playoff berth and a 7-4 record. He also had 11 carries for 77 yards and two touchdowns on offense. Hicks averaged 41.1 yards as a punter.
There’s no doubting his ability. His destination though wasn’t finaled until recently. Hicks said he made the decision after sitting down with his mom and weighing out the positives and negatives.
The tipping point?
“They were all good programs but Texas had that family feel that made me feel like I’m already a part of,” Hicks said. “It was just in my heart. That’s where I felt most comfortable.”
When asked if he felt like he turned his back on Ohio State, Hicks was quick to counter.
“I don’t think I turned my back on Ohio State,” Hicks said. “I wasn’t born here. I moved here in sixth grade. Ohio State is an Ohio school and I don’t have that connection.”
Hicks said he called Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel right before the press conference.
“He understood,” Hicks said. “He’s used to it. Not everybody is going to commit to where you’re at. I had to do what was right for me. I just told him I would not be attending Ohio State and he said, ‘OK, where are you attending?’ and I said ‘Texas.’ He said ‘OK, we wish the best for you.’”
Hicks called Texas coach Mack Brown yesterday to let him know. Brown was not as reserved as Tressel.
“It was great,” Hicks said. “He was real excited. I told him how I felt and how I was real excited. He actually screamed. It felt good to get it out and let the coach know I was coming there.”
Hicks also said his entire family will move to Austin.
Hicks’ commitment means Texas now has five of the country’s Top 20 recruits according to ESPN Scouts Inc. Hicks also solidified the Longhorns recruiting class as the nation’s No. 2 haul. Florida is comfortably in front.
The Longhorns, who now have 23 commits, have verbals from 14 of the ESPNU Top 150, including six of the Top 50. Solid – much like Hicks’ resume.
Said Cox: “When you look at the final analysis of what he’s accomplished he arguably and quite possibly could go down as the most celebrated player in Ohio – ever.”
Press Conference Video