D’ANDRE HICKS EXCITED TO BE BACK ON DEFENSE

High school coaches want their best playmakers handling the ball and that’s why so many explosive players end up at quarterback. D’Andre Hicks will ultimately play cornerback for Appalachian State but was Charlotte High School’s signal-caller as a senior and led the Tarpons to Florida’s 6-A state semifinals. Already enrolled at App State, Hicks will return to defense in spring practice.

Even more impressive than the number of positions D’Andre Hicks played for Charlotte High School (Punta Gorda, FL) is how well he played every one of them.

As a junior, Hicks was primarily a cornerback for the Tarpons’ incredibly stingy defense, which allowed just 10 points per game during their 12-1 season. Though he did occasionally jump to the other side of the ball, where he also had over 300 receiving yards and more than 200 rushing yards in part-time duty.

After that season, where Hicks was named All-Suncoast Area at corner with 36 tackles and four interceptions, Charlotte Head Coach Binky Waldrop proclaimed Hicks one of the best cover corners in Southwest Florida.

Then, Coach Waldrop promptly moved Hicks to quarterback, preferring to focus Hicks’ startling athleticism on running the offense. Good move.

Hicks followed up his all-area defensive honor by becoming the All-Suncoast first-team quarterback and the area’s offensive player of the year. All told, Hicks led Charlotte to Florida’s 6-A final four and another 12-1 record, as he rushed for 507 yards and eight touchdowns and threw for 1,219 yards and 12 more scores.

But, even with all of the offensive responsibility Waldrop still relied on Hicks’ defensive ability when a district title was on the line.

”I played a lot of defensive back in the district championship game,” says Hicks. “I had a pick my first time stepping out there and I had a couple of tackles.”

Hicks will start “stepping out there” at cornerback full time when spring practice begins at Appalachian State in February. Having enrolled at mid-year Hicks will have the opportunity to get a jump on his freshman season.

”It’s good to get back to DB,” Hicks said. “I love picking the ball off, I love defending. It’s good to come down and make tackles, too. DB is the best position out there.

”App State has a good system and I love the coaches, they play really good defense.”

Hicks successfully uses his experience from playing in so many different spots offensively to benefit him defensively.

”I’ve pretty much played everywhere on the field, and I know the different players’ views from different positions. I know the game of football,” said Hicks.

Hicks is also a coach’s kid, as his father is Charlotte’s wide receiver coach.

Asked if his dad ever offered feedback, given that D’Andre was the guy feeding the ball to those receivers, the younger Hicks answers with a half-laugh, “Oh yeah, every throw.”

Hicks was sold on App State when he and his parents made a game-weekend official visit when the Mountaineers faced Louisiana-Monroe and experienced everything Appalachian football, and Mother Nature, had to offer.

”On game day we were up there checking out the atmosphere and I was there with my parents,” Hicks recalls. “It was cool, everybody loves football up there.

”My player host was Devonte Harrison, he showed me around and just really told me how great of a place Boone and App State are.

”I love what their corners do and that’s what I watched during the game.”

Being at App State wasn’t the only first-time experience for Hicks that weekend.

”It was my first time ever being in the mountains,” Hicks noted with emphasis, after experiencing snow for the first time during pre-game flurries, “It’s really different from Florida.”

Hicks concludes that all of the new experiences at App State combined to influence his final decision to become a Mountaineer.

”Everything, I can’t really single one thing out. The coaches, the players, the atmosphere, just how everybody up there loves football,” Hicks says. “I like it all.

”They win and I like to win.”


App State Mania Top Stories