David Hicks Sr. has been coaching his son since he was 4 years old.
That’s not going to stop anytime soon.
The elder Hicks made a name for himself after a standout four-year collegiate career at Grambling State from 2002-2006 before playing one year with the Kansas City Chiefs, then later seeing time in the Arena and Canadian football leagues. Now, he serves as the defensive line coach at Allen High School (Allen, Texas). Fitting, because he’s had a front row seat watching his son David Hicks Jr. blossom into one of the most coveted defensive line recruits in the class of 2023 as he enters his junior year at Allen.
At 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds and boasting a five-star rating, Hicks Jr. is a monster in the defensive trenches. He uses his size and intelligence to disrupt running lanes and put pressure on opposing passers.
“He’s probably the smartest kid I’ve ever coached,” the elder Hicks said. “I’m not just saying that because he’s my son. It’s rare that he’ll get beat on the same play twice.”
Since Hicks Jr.'s Pop Warner days, the elder Hicks has passed on different techniques to his son such as making pre-snap reads and shifts. But life isn’t all about football with the duo.
“The hardest thing is not taking things home with us,” Hicks Sr. said. “We talk football so much that we have to flip the switch where I go back to Dad rather than coach.”
Hicks Jr. is the 18th-best recruit nationally and the fifth-best defensive line prospect in the class of 2023, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. He picked up an offer from Ohio State on June 15 after excelling in a workout at a camp with OSU defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
“(I really like) the culture there and the coaching staff,” Hicks Jr. told Eleven Warriors about Ohio State on Sunday.
Of course, Hicks Jr. has no shortage of options, picking up offers from the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech, among others.
“I really don’t have a (top) list really right now, to be honest,” Hicks Jr. said.
But Ohio State has a few things going for it as it ramps up its pursuit of the talented defensive lineman. Hicks Jr.’s favorite NFL player is former OSU standout Chase Young, now with the Washington Football Team.
“I really like how he plays the game,” Hicks Jr. said.
Both Hicks Jr. and Sr. have a tremendous amount of respect for Johnson. Hicks Sr. called him a “Hall of Fame coach.” Hicks Sr. is also close with the father of 2022 OSU commit Caleb Burton.
“You definitely have a little bit of a connection going there already,” Hicks Sr. said.
Current Ohio State freshman Donovan Jackson, a former five-star offensive line recruit from Texas, and Hicks Jr. have trained together since their middle school days. Whenever Jackson is back in his home state, the pair hang out and the subject of Hicks Jr. potentially playing for Ohio State doesn’t go ignored.
“That’s all we talk about pretty much,” Hicks Jr. said. “He said it’s a great program and they’re building something special.”
At 16 years old, Hicks Jr. is in no rush to make a commitment. The junior told Eleven Warriors he hopes to visit OSU in the fall for a game, but which contest the family will attend is still to be determined. He added if he had to guess, he’ll commit sometime after his junior season. Meanwhile, his father is advising him to enjoy the moment.
“I want him to take his time, be a kid and enjoy it,” Hicks Sr. said. “You only get to go through this process once. The worst thing would be to rush into something and back out later. I’ve told him once you’ve picked a school you’re committed to it and that’s what you’re going to do.”
Recruits attending BBQ in July
July 28-30 has the makings of a big weekend for Ohio State recruiting. Another week of on-campus recruiting will be open for the final week of July, so OSU will be busy trying to convince prospective recruits to become Buckeyes. The football program will host a BBQ in Columbus and has invited a slew of top recruits and their families.
We’ve started compiling a list of prospects expected to be at OSU for the event. Some have been confirmed by our own intel, others by reports from various outlets and some recruits have flat out announced themselves they’re making the trip.
Prospects expected to attend the BBQ, sorted by class, include:
2023: Anthony Brown (WR), Payton Kirkland (OL), Ty Lockwood (TE), Derrick LeBlanc (DL), Richard Young (RB), TJ Shanahan (OL), Nicholaus Iamaleava (QB), Clay Wedin (OL), Luke Montgomery (OL), Joshua Padilla (OL), Malik Muhammad (DB), Sonny Styles (ATH), Ta’Mere Robinson (DB), Jayden Limar (RB)
One other note: 2023 cornerback Kayin Lee, who recently narrowed down his list of schools to 10, told Eleven Warriors he’s unsure if he will attend the cookout in July, but is considering it.
Dewberry celebrates father’s birthday
A prospective Ohio State offensive line target took to Twitter Tuesday to celebrate his father’s big day.
happy birthday to the man whos been here since day uno , love ya pops pic.twitter.com/YjU1wz4jTn— KAM DEWBERRY (@KamDewberry) July 20, 2021
Kam Dewberry, a four-star recruit from Texas, visited OSU in June and is one of the Buckeyes’ top remaining targets for the final two offensive line spots in the 2022 recruiting class along with Addison Nichols and Earnest Greene. Maybe it’s noteworthy Dewberry, who is the 10th-best offensive tackle prospect, picked a photo of he and his father from the Ohio State visit, maybe it isn’t.