A spring football camp visitor to College Park, Md., this March has ties that run deep at the University of Maryland and in the Old Line State.
Heritage High School (Leesburg, Va.) running back Frankie Hickson once lived in Maryland, his father coached in Maryland, and he still has numerous relatives in the area, notably Annapolis.
Hickson, who led Heritage to a 13-1 mark and a state semifinal berth in 2013, including a seven-touchown game along the way, has Maryland high on his list as he delves into the recruiting process more this spring and summer.
He visited with his family for the Terps' final open practice before spring break, and came away already feeling like family.
"It was great coming up there to visit a rising Big Ten opponent, and I have always liked Maryland and a lot of my family is from Maryland," Hickson said. "So it was a great experience to come up there and spend some time with the team, the coaches, my family, and see what the atmosphere is like."
His mother, father and sister accompanied him on the recent visit. Hickson observed the offense and running backs for the entire practice in Byrd Stadium.
It was Hickson's first visit to the stadium.
"I toured the facilities. I spent time in the running backs and special teams meetings, and then stayed the whole time for practice," he said. "It was a great experience of what college football is all about.
"They have a great running backs coach in Coach [Andre] Powell and a great offense and a great quarterback coming back. They have a great staff and an intense offensive line coach from what I have seen. So it was a good day there."
Hickson said the UMD visit made him feel right at home.
"Maryland is really high [on my list]," he said. "Considering it is close to home and I have family up there....we'll see what happens, but I like Maryland, I love Coach Powell, and he feels like family already. And I would love to play for him."
Hickson has also visited Purdue and Liberty this spring, the latter where his father, Frank, used to coach and now heads campus ministry.
Frankie Hickson stands 5-foot-8 and 200 pounds, and has run a 4.37-second 40-yard dash. In the bust-out game last season he rushed for the seven scores (with a long of 70 yards) and 200 yards. On the season he went for 1,800 yards and 34 touchdowns, while keeping Heritage at No. 1 in the area for parts of the season.
"The seven-touchdown game was just like a video game," he quipped. "It was a great experience....the offensive line blocked, and I believe we have the best offensive line in the state. And the receivers blocked on the outside so well when I got there. And everything was just clicking in that game."
Hickson's father has coached in the past at colleges ranging from Navy to Oklahoma State to South Carolina and many in between. The younger Hickson said his father has known Powell, UMD offensive coordinator Mike Locksley and defensive line coach Chad Wilt for years from the coaching fraternity, having coached with Wilt at Liberty.
Other schools in touch with the 4.0 GPA student include Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Purdue and Pittsburgh, among others. He said he will learn more about where he stands with them once the May recruiting period begins, as well as camping at some of the schools this summer.
Hickson would like to study sports management and one day become a coach.
"The Terps, they want me to come up to their 'Friday Night Lights' camp. And then they want me up there one other time to take a more extensive tour to see what it's like on Maryland's campus with all the students there so I can see what it would be like if I was there," he said.
Hickson has also played soccer in the past, and now runs indoor and outdoor track at the school.
Off the field, Hickson said he is a devoted Christian and participates in the FCA, while hitting the film room as much as possible, too.
On the field, he said of his game and style:
"Not to toot my horn, but I feel I am a very well-rounded back. The kind of back that can run downhill, can lower my shoulders, and when I get to the outside it's off to the races."
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