RECRUITING: Two now lead for Brandon Hicks

When you list the top linebackers in the south, you won't find a list that doesn't have the name Brandon Hicks on it. The Jacksonville Forrest star has "can't miss prospect" written all over him which is why the Florida coaching staff was so focused on him during the second annual Friday Night Lights camp, but did Hicks come away with a favorable impression of the Gators?

(See Brandon Hicks profile)

Gator Country did a video interview with Hicks just a couple of days prior to Friday Night Lights. To say this big time linebacker was in a state of anticipation might be the understatement of the summer. Now that he's gone through the FNL experience, it's obvious that all expectations were met and perhaps even exceeded.

"It was pretty good," he started. "I liked it out there a lot. It was a night to remember, something I won't forget. The excitement and enthusiasm … everyone going fast and hard … it was cool. I liked going into the stadium and watching that video highlights. That was what I think of when the Gators play. It was for real."

He also got a little inspiration from one of the guest speakers at the camp. All-pro wide receiver Cris Carter was on hand and provided the campers with a little bit of wisdom about life after football.

"Cris Carter was talking about making more of my life than just football," Hicks said. "I really liked that."

Saturday, Florida followed up Friday Night Lights with the fourth Junior Day of the recruiting season. More than 20 of the top recruited prospects in the country felt it was worth being in Gainesville on their own dime to get a further look at what the University of Florida is all about. Hicks was there and he got the full court press about the school itself.

"Today I hung around Coach (Urban) Meyer and a couple of other coaches," he said. "They talked about mostly academics. Tate Casey and Brandon Siler came up and talked about some of the experiences in the recruiting process and some of their other experiences."

Hicks has jumbled his top schools quite often. Whenever he visits somewhere it seems he comes away very impressed. He knows that is what usually happens.

"Every time I go to a school something comes up that I like that I didn't see the last time," he said. "I would say the top two right now are Florida and Miami."

Both times he visited Florida he loved the intensity of the football team and the coaching staff. Some prospects can handle it better than others. Strength Coach Mickey Marotti was one that was really pushing the kids when they were doing some of the drills. Brandon loves to be pushed.

"As far as all the coaches and Coach Mickey, he was getting on us, and I really liked that style of coach," he said. "They are all the type of coaches that push you to your limits."

Hicks has a different reason for liking Miami. He feels the academic structure of a small school might be something that is better for him.

"I like the campus at Miami," he said. "It is smaller and the class size isn't that big. The teachers will know you by name and all."

There is really no school out of it for Hicks at least for right now. He continues to want to take official visits in the fall because he hasn't been many places. His childhood favorite Florida State will undoubtedly still get some kind of visit from him but for this moment at least, two schools have at least created some slight separation.

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