The recruitment of 4-star defensive end Marcus Hicks out of Wichita, Kansas, has been one of the most interesting ones to follow in the 2019 cycle. Not for the usual reasons of twists and turns of the chase for his signature but because of the diligence he and his father Kelvin have put into researching schools and hitting the camp circuit.
Last Sunday, Hicks participated in Under Armour’s Chicago camp. That’s not the only camp he has been to all while competing in wrestling, track and visiting schools. Hicks was a priority target for the previous coaching staff and has gotten a lot of love from the new staff as well. However, the perception has been building that Nebraska is falling behind here. I reached out to Marcus’ father, Kelvin, to ask if that perception is true.
“I don't think so," Kelvin Hicks said. “My feelings are that they are catching up, not falling behind. (There is) obviously, some work to do in Marcus' eyes. We really like Nebraska. (They are) one of my favorites. They're just getting in the game late. Marcus is truly a relationship guy, so they will have to dig their heels in if they are serious about getting him.”
By getting in the game later the elder Hicks is referring to the coaching change, which can’t be held against the staff, but it’s a reality that the change disrupted relationship building with Marcus. Kelvin told me that he bonds quicker with people than Marcus does, but he loves the Nebraska people. The recruit just doesn’t care much about the superficial stuff according to his father.
One point of contention about Hicks’ recruitment is if Nebraska is hurting itself by trying to move him to outside linebacker instead of letting him continue playing his high school position of defensive end. I asked Kelvin if Nebraska was alone in that line of thinking.
“Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, Ohio State all want him at outside linebacker," he said. "They do say his body will dictate a lot of that.”
Since the Hicks family has made so many trips to see different colleges around the country, I wanted to see some of the things that they are looking for on visits. One thing that came up repeatedly was the strength and conditioning programs.
“Before Marcus had any offers, we spent more time researching strength and conditioning coaches than we did any other coach. That will be key in reaching his goals. Once he gets into a big time weight and nutrition program, he will be scary," Kelvin said.
Kelvin told me that Zach Duval is “the one that stands out to me.” They are also really high on Ron Glass at Oklahoma State. The key people that they have to spend time with on visits are strength and conditioning coaches, position coach and academic people. Sticking with the theme of Marcus not being impressed with the superficial things at schools, they only want to see the facilities one time before getting to the nitty gritty of what’s going on at a school.
Oklahoma and Michigan are a couple of the top schools for Hicks right now, and he does have a summer official visit locked in to Washington in late June. Keep it locked to Hail Varsity for the latest in the recruitment of one of the top players in the Midwest.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.