Jacksonville Forrest linebacker Brandon Hicks spent his Labor Day at the Orange Bowl in Miami watching a wet, soggy defensive battle between Miami and Florida State. While he was impressed with what he saw in the game, his favorite’s list remains the same and he’s planning to visit other games this fall.
The 6-2, 205 pound Hicks, one of the most highly sought linebackers in the southeast, has a list of six favorites. FSU’s 13-10 victory over Miami was a game featuring two of his top six.
“The list is mostly the same,” Hicks said. “I like Florida and Miami the most, then Florida State, Clemson, Auburn, and LSU.”
Monday night he saw two tough defenses grind it out in really rough weather. His parents were there and Hicks was trying play the part of the impartial observer.
“It was a loud crowd,” Hicks said. “The fans were intense for both sides. Everyone was asking who I was rooting for and I wasn’t rooting for anyone. I went down to see how both teams played as a team. I also wanted to see what kind of atmosphere Miami had, too. I wanted to see how the coaches reacted to the players and the players reacted to the coaches.”
There was a moment when Hick’s father wanted him to take in the atmosphere and really think about the Orange Bowl as a place to play in the future.
“My dad asked me to close my eyes and see if I could see myself there,” he said. “I told him I probably could. He told me I can’t make a decision after visiting one game and he wants me to visit all three Florida schools and see what it is like and how I feel about it.”
Dad and mom have been FSU fans for the longest time. Brandon Hicks has also been a Seminole fan for most of his life. Monday, they tried curbing their interest in either school.
“My mom was kind of rooting for Florida State but she also rooted for Miami since we were visiting them,” he said. “My dad was like me. He was kind of balanced.”
Hicks is off to a great season personally and although only a part time player on offense, he has already scored two touchdowns in two games. The first game was a Hicks masterpiece. He had a sack on the last play of scrimmage to seal a 14-12 victory.
“I was trying to go hard in the first game,” Hicks said. “I had nine tackles, a couple of sacks (including the last play), I had two interceptions and returned one 75 yards for a touchdown.”
In the second game, the head coach put him in on offense near the goal line. Hicks came up big but it wasn’t enough for the victory.
“I went on offense on one play and scored, it was a jump ball in the corner of the end zone,” he said. “I had two catches for 20-something yards and a touchdown. We still lost, our offense kept going three plays and out.”
Hicks wants to go somewhere that there is early playing time available at the next level. That is going to be a major factor in his final decision.
“I am trying to work with people I know,” he said. “I want to play early. At Florida State that isn’t going to happen because they have their linebackers set. I want to come into college football and play and see what I can do. Florida and Miami both told me I could have a chance to play early.”
The Gators certainly have a hole in the roster at the linebacker position. For years now, they have had a roster with very few linebackers and at times the lack of depth has hurt them big. Hicks talked about what he likes about the Gators.
“I like their competitiveness,” he said. “Their coaching staff is improved. I talked to Urban Meyer and he says they want to go after it on every play. They never give up.”
He was planning on attending the Gator game in Gainesville on Saturday, but he couldn’t get out of prior obligations.
“I was going to if I had a chance, but I couldn’t make it.” He said. “I got a raise at work and the boss told me they didn’t have enough people to work on Saturday. I have to pay for this cell phone.”
The Hurricanes offer a lot of the same according to Hicks.
“It’s the same thing at Miami,” he said. “If something goes wrong, they fix it. If they think something is going to go wrong, they fix it before it happens.”
Brandon Hicks is going to be a big priority the whole recruiting season for Miami and Florida. His stock looks to continue to rise with his play on the field, so the recruiting battle should really heat up.