The Gators had plenty of star prospects witness their dismantling of the LSU Tigers last week. Amongst those highly rated players was super linebacker Brandon Hicks and he was duly impressed with the atmosphere in Gainesville.
“I liked it a lot, it was loud.” Brandon Hicks said about the game. “It was the first time I had ever been to the Swamp for a game. People said it was like that for every game and it was loud and crazy. I liked the defense that was really getting after it.”
This could be his last visit to a college football game this year.
“I don’t know where I am going next,” he said. “I haven’t set up any officials yet, I am going to set them up for after the football season.
The Gators made an instant impression on Hicks back in the spring when he attended a practice session. The 6-2, 205 pound head hunter loved the intensity that the Gators practiced with. Four months later, he saw that intensity carry over to the playing field and his own interest in the Gators remains just as intense.
“They stand pretty high,” he said about the Gators. “You know it’s always been out of Miami and Florida. Those two are on top.”
“I talk to Coach Mattison and Coach Meyer a lot,” he said of the Gator’s head coach and defensive coordinator. “Coach Mattison says he likes how I go after the ball and I go hard every play. He just likes me as a player, period.”
“Coach Meyer’s conversations are not what you would think from a football coach,” Hicks said. “He wants to know about my life and about school. It’s kind of a regular conversation. He makes me feel like he is recruiting me as a person and not a business kind of thing. He gets to know you as a player and not just that number eight guy.”
It was especially eye opening for Hicks when he saw all the talented freshmen playing on the field. The Gators have played 14 true freshmen and are still undefeated and ranked number two in the nation. Hicks can tell that the staff will put the best players on the field regardless of how long they have been around the program.
“It shows that they actually pay attention to the talent and don’t just reward players for being older,” he said. “They play people on both sides of the ball as freshmen.”
Hicks also got to enter the Gator locker room and share in the celebration after the game. The locker room was packed and exciting. The atmosphere was a little different than he expected.
“I have been in the locker room before but not after a game,” he said. “It was funny and cool at the same time. They get intense, but they also crack jokes. They have this thing where they call people out for big plays. They jump all over the coaches and stuff. It was kind of fun.”
The Miami Hurricanes have struggled a bit this year and Hicks is quite aware of that. So far, that has not been a deterrent from him keeping them in his plans. Hicks says the Miami coaches are selling him on being a difference in turning around their program.
“Right now, they are telling me they know Miami isn’t doing well, but they show me that the team needs help,” he said. “Most of their players are seniors and they are going to need help with better players and recruits that can execute plays.”
“I know they are struggling right now, but every Florida teams goes through a year or two where they struggle. It happens to all the Florida schools and they always bounce back.”
With a recent scholarship offer to Michigan, he’ll will take a visit up there this fall. With offers from all of the big three in Florida, LSU, Georgia, Clemson and Michigan, Hicks has definitely impressed college coaches of his play. His team is improving and he is a big part of that improvement.
“We won 36-6 last Friday over Stanton College Prep,” Hicks said. “I forced a fumble, had three sacks, eight tackles and a pass broken up. We are 3-3 and 1-1 in the district.”
Brandon Hicks will continue to be a big time recruit for Florida and Miami. Some other schools will make a push for him, but in the end it will come down to the two and he will have to decide which school offers him the most as a player and a person. The Gators are making it a very tough sell for anyone else.