Hicks impressing early at cornerback

The freshman from Solon (Ohio) is drawing more attention and good reviews, but with depth at cornerback, is a redshirt part of the plan this season?

Michigan State has been a defensive backs powerhouse in recent years and that trend is set to continue.

The new name in the defensive backfield at MSU is freshman Darian Hicks.

"He has great feet, athletic ability, ball skills, toughness," defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett said. "He has been rotating with the twos a little bit.

"He's going to a really good player before it's all said and done."

Senior safety Isaiah Lewis, Hicks' roommate in fall camp, also said that Hicks has been a standout thus far in fall camp. The Spartans have a wealth of cornerbacks, with starters Darqueze Dennard and Trae Waynes and backups Arjen Colquhoun, Ezra Robinson and Jermaine Edmondson, but Hicks is keeping his name in the race. Barnett said nothing has been decided on his redshirt status yet.

"We will see," he said. "We don't know that for a fact right now. He's doing well. More times than not, if you can save a guy, you would like to save him, but you never know. So, we will see, but he's a good football player."

Hicks said last week that he wasn't sure if he would prefer to be redshirted or play right away.

"I don't know," he said. "We will see what happens by then. We still have a lot more practices and lot more time. As the week progresses and going into next week and the week after, that's when I will feel like should I redshirt or not."

Hicks said that he hasn't had much trouble picking up the playbook, and is really just trying to show what he can do. He also mentioned that he feels comfortable in the return game, somewhere that he could contribute early in his career.

"That was my main thing in high school, being on punt return and kickoff return," Hicks said. "It was always easy for me for some reason. Some other guys that did it, they made it all difficult, but I just did it. I got the ball, I saw the hole and I just ran through it."

Still, Barnett said that ideally a redshirt will be placed on Hicks for this season.

"When you can we hold a guy off (with a redshirt), I always go back to the Trenton Robinson story," Barnett said. "I would have loved to have Trenton back last year. We talk about it as a staff, being able to redshirt. We wish we could have redshirted him. He said it to me, Trenton did, ‘I wish I could have redshirted.'

"If you can get a guy through that way, that's great. If we need to use him, we'll use him. He is going to be a really good football player for us."

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