The focus was on the opportunity for the sophomore cornerback to have a big game and to show people the player he is. It was the continuation of the talk all week in preparation for the rivalry clash: Be aggressive.
“All throughout the week, the guys were telling me to be more aggressive and let that dog out,” Hicks said Thursday.
The result was a performance that junior cornerback Trae Waynes said showed Hicks “is making a name for himself” after the Spartans’ 35-11 win.
”I noticed they went his way a couple times,” Waynes said. “I don’t know how many times they even complete a pass over there. He really stepped up.”
Senior safety Kurtis Drummond said Hicks has been progressing a lot and it is visible on his face and in the way he carries himself. It is an attitude and demeanor Waynes and former MSU cornerback Darqueze Dennard had been working to put into Hicks, Drummond said.
”You can see more of the dog coming out of him and the competitiveness coming out of him,” he said. “Really what Queze and Trae have been trying to pull out of him. He is going out there and taking each play personal.”
After getting his first full dose of the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry, which he said allowed him to feel the tension between the players, he know will get another shot on a big stage.
The Solon, Ohio, native will get a chance to make his first start against his homestate school Ohio State on Saturday. It was a school he was recruited by, but from which never received an offer.
Hicks said he went to camp at Ohio State before his senior year, performed well in drills, but was given a message after the camp he was not too fond to hear.
”Both the position coach and the head coach said just be patient.,” he said. “They talked to my mom about it and he said the same thing to her and she didn’t really like it.
”After that I left the camp and said you know what that’s it they’re off my list. Don’t like them, don’t need them.”
Hicks then committed to Michigan State in June, as the Spartans provided the best place to become a better young man and athlete, he said. He also saw a school he deemed the right fit that was waiting on him instead of telling him to wait.
”Having Michigan State waiting on me, it’s a sense of relief that I am their No. 1 priority on their list,” he said. “They want me badly. I made my decision and it was the right decision that I made.”
He also saw the opportunity to go to a school and prove others wrong in the process. Now, he will look to show Ohio State the player it chose was a fallback plan and not a Plan A recruit in high school.
“Can’t wait for it,” he said. “… The hype about Ohio State saying they are a powerhouse team and they have playmakers, it’s whatever.
”I’m waiting for it. I want them to try me. I want them to come at me so I can prove to them what they gave up on.”