2023 5-star DE Hicks travels to UM for Paradise, impressed by Simpson

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Stefan Adams

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Over the weekend, 2023 Allen (TX) 5-star DE David Hicks made the trek from northeast Texas to South Florida to attend the Miami Hurricanes’ Paradise Camp. On a day where most established prospects sat out of the event and just came for the visit experience, Hicks instead laced them up and put on a strong performance in Coral Gables.

“I just like to compete. I feel like I did pretty good,” Hicks said. “There’s some things I still need to work on, working on having multiple moves and things like that.”

The 6’4” 250-pound prospect does not have a long and established relationship with the Canes, but that could soon be changing - Hicks’ interest in the Hurricanes was piqued when Miami DL coach Jess Simpson offered the Allen star last month, and working with Simpson this weekend seemed to put UM in a whole new light for Hicks.

“Being here and working with (Simpson), it definitely showed me a different view of the school,” Hicks said. “A lot of D-Line coaches have worked in the NFL and have a lot of experience, but it’s good to have that 1-on-1 time with them to see if they can communicate that knowledge to a less experienced player coming out of high school. I just know coach Simpson is a good coach.”

Like many recruits over the years, Hicks was impressed by the atmosphere and environment Miami has cultivated around Paradise, which included plenty of former Hurricane stars and NFL legends returning to help coach and give motivational talks.

“It’s pretty cool that they get all their former players to come back just for a camp, I haven’t really been to a camp like that,” Hicks said. “I know Calais Campbell and enjoyed being able to talk with him for a bit, but I wouldn’t say I have a favorite (former Hurricane).”

Aside from Simpson and the camp experience, Hicks also had a few practical reasons for why his interest in UM was growing.

“Their defensive line – they get so many defensive linemen drafted in the first round,” Hicks said of UM. “And their playbook too, how they run the ‘vertical’ type of defense where it’s all about getting upfield to the quarterback, it just fits (me).”

Since the dead period ended on June 1st and campuses reopened, Hicks has been arguably one of the busiest recruits in America, seeing 14 schools this month including LSU, Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Clemson, Ole Miss, and Notre Dame among others. Despite the lengthy visit tour, he says he has no plans for an early decision.

“I’m just taking in all in right now, I’m not really in a rush to commit or anything,” Hicks said. “I’m just getting ready for next season, and then after the season I’ll start taking things a little more serious. I’ll probably make like a top 10 or 12 around that time.”

While he admits he is intrigued at the idea of leaving Texas for college, Hicks says the program he ultimately chooses will be somewhere that feels familiar.

“I’m going to probably be looking for somewhere that feels like home,” Hicks said. “If I’m going to go far away from home, I want to be somewhere I can feel comfortable and feels like home.”

As a sophomore in 2020, Hicks played for Morton Ranch and posted 52 tackles, 12 TFL, 5 sacks, and 3 FF, although he will compete during his junior season in football, basketball and track for Allen in 2021.

“I’m an aggressive player, I bring a little extra every play. Just relentless effort.”

 
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AHURT12

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I like that we're at least in touch and getting visits from top defensive lineman. Especially from Texas. I like that our recruiting map is getting bigger. Get some studs from Louisiana and Texas yearly should be our goal as well as holding down south Florida
 
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TimeBum

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This was impressive to me:

“A lot of D-Line coaches have worked in the NFL and have a lot of experience, but it’s good to have that 1-on-1 time with them to see if they can communicate that knowledge to a less experienced player coming out of high school."

That's a kid with his head on straight.

Underrated comment. This tells you the kid- who is ALREADY a 5 star- knows he still has room to improve and is looking for a good teacher. He should be a 6 star recruit with that attitude and maturity.
 

Canesq

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This was impressive to me:

“A lot of D-Line coaches have worked in the NFL and have a lot of experience, but it’s good to have that 1-on-1 time with them to see if they can communicate that knowledge to a less experienced player coming out of high school."

That's a kid with his head on straight.
Bingo. That jumped off the page for me. You don’t see that kind of analysis from a high school junior.
 

CaneThang2020

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Fact that he came from Texas on his own dime is telling. But December 2022 is a LONG time from now. I'd say we're a real player here if he comes to the 2022 Paradise Camp. Not only do we have beat out TX and OU, we'd also have beat out the traditional SEC heavyweights (plus Clemson)
 
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CaneThang2020

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Underrated comment. This tells you the kid- who is ALREADY a 5 star- knows he still has room to improve and is looking for a good teacher. He should be a 6 star recruit with that attitude and maturity.
Texas HS football coaching is on another level. Guys annually turn down D2/D3 college level coaching jobs to stay at several of these powerhouse TX HS football programs.
 

ItsAUThing.com

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Need to start signing these kids. Seems like every year for the past 16 years we're reading the same headline—some 5-Star kid "impressed" with Miami—yet signing elsewhere when all is said and done.

When are the Canes "back"? When more kids like this choose Coral Gables over somewhere else .... but how does UM start winning without these kids, to start attracting these kids?

Multi-million dollar question for Manolo to solve over the next few years.
 

ZuCrew

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Need to start signing these kids. Seems like every year for the past 16 years we're reading the same headline—some 5-Star kid "impressed" with Miami—yet signing elsewhere when all is said and done.

When are the Canes "back"? When more kids like this choose Coral Gables over somewhere else .... but how does UM start winning without these kids, to start attracting these kids?

Multi-million dollar question for Manolo to solve over the next few years.
Yes, we haven’t been signing top tier recruits in recent years, and we need to.Very astute and observant analysis..
 

wspcane

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Need to start signing these kids. Seems like every year for the past 16 years we're reading the same headline—some 5-Star kid "impressed" with Miami—yet signing elsewhere when all is said and done.

When are the Canes "back"? When more kids like this choose Coral Gables over somewhere else .... but how does UM start winning without these kids, to start attracting these kids?

Multi-million dollar question for Manolo to solve over the next few years.
We should not need 5 star kids to beat anyone in the ACC besides Clemson. We currently have and have had plenty of talent to win the rest of our games and have failed to do so consistently. Win all of those games first and then the rest will follow.
 
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Ziggy

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We should not need 5 star kids to beat anyone in the ACC besides Clemson. We currently have and have had plenty of talent to win the rest of our games and have failed to do so consistently. Win all of those games first and then the rest will follow.
Not exactly true. UNC is getting 5 stars now with Mack. Do we still have more talent then them? Yes, but they are recruiting at top 15 - 20 levels now.
 

wspcane

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Not exactly true. UNC is getting 5 stars now with Mack. Do we still have more talent then them? Yes, but they are recruiting at top 15 - 20 levels now.
You literally just said it yourself, so what is the issue. Stop lowering the standards. Yea they are recruiting better than they used to and Howell is good, but we have just as much talent as that, if not more. If we want to take the next step and get guys like Hicks, we need to beat UNC and win our division.
 

SpikeUM

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Manny gets high grades for his recruiting prowess, not so much on the actual coaching end. However, he has brought in a number of very good coaches, Shoop, Simpson, TRob, Likens, etc., so he has hopefully solved the coaching deficiency.

Mack is similar, he is recruiting at a very $high$ level, but his coaching is suspect.
 
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