"I did camp there and did real well. They offered me after the camp. I was real happy. I actually was on a visit this past Friday. I had to leave right after the camp for Cincinnati, so I didn't see much of the school. The visit on Friday was for a tour of the school. I saw the campus and met with all the coaches again."
Hickey appears close to a decision.
"The visit to Illinois was the last one before the season ,and the last one before I make a commitment. Some schools said they would wait for my decision, but I think I'm going to make it within the next week or week and a half."
The 6'-6", 280 pound lineman currently holds 3 BCS offers, with several other schools possibly offering soon.
"Illinois, Boston College, and Syracuse have offered. There are some smaller schools that have offered. I went on a big trip earlier in the summer. I could very well be picking up offers from Cincinnati, Colorado, and Wisconsin.
"I did grow up a Pitt fan, but once my recruitment started I dropped all biases. It seems like the Pitt coaching staff liked me, but I think we're going different ways.
"I have three schools I'm looking at, and it'll be a real tough decision. Those three schools are Illinois, Boston College, and Syracuse. If I get other offers, it could get more complicated. But I'm pretty sure of my top 3."
On his visit to Illinois last Friday, Hickey was able to talk to Coach Gilbert about what Illinois sees as his future if he joins the Illini family.
"I'll be a tackle. Coach Gilbert said during the camp I was athletic, tall, and physical. He thinks I can be a tackle in college and that I'll be redshirting my first year in school, but that I could be a 3 to 4 year starter.
"Redshirting is fine with me. You have to get adjusted to the school and everything. Once my season is over, I'll be working real hard every day until I leave for college. I agree with the redshirt because I'll get more chance to develop and become a starter hopefully if I work hard enough."
After a blazing start to the 2008 season, the Franklin Regional SHS Panthers faded. Things look promising, however, for the upcoming season.
"We started the season out 4-1, but we fell apart down the stretch because of injuries. We did make the playoffs, but we lost in the first round. We lost a lot of people from last year, but I'm encouraged from what I've seen in practice.
"The quarterback is very good, and the defense is very good. I think we'll be all right. I play offensive tackle and defensive tackle."
Hickey gives everything he has on every play and strives for a particular goal. He also has an impressive streak going.
"Every single play I try to push my guy back as far as I can, and I try to get him on the ground. I'm trying to keep up my record of not giving up a sack in my high school career."
Hickey may have flown the under the radar last season because he spent nearly the entire year injured.
"I want to stay healthy this season because last year I was injured the whole year. I played through it, but I want to stay healthy. I had a torn labrum in my shoulder, and in the last three games I had a real bad high ankle sprain."
The Pennsylvania product would be a great addition to the Fighting Illini as he showed the Illinois coaches just how good he can be when fully healthy. Despite his injuries, Hickey earned WPIAL second-team all-state honors.