We continue our countdown of the 52 Michigan State Spartans to watch during the 2016 season.

To remember one of the best Michigan State squads, Spartan Digest brings your Spartan 52 for 2016. Why “52”? To remember the 1952 team coached by Clarence Lester “Biggie” Munn that went 9-0 winning a National Championship by being voted No. 1 in both the AP and Coaches’ polls. Munn was also named the AFCA Coach of the Year.

#21 Darian Hicks

The Solon, Ohio native has seen his ups and downs during his career but will be looked upon at the start of camp to be one of the Spartans top defenders.  If Hicks struggles, he’ll quickly find another down in his career as younger players are chomping to take his spot at field corner.


Hicks fought injury but still ended up having his best season as a Spartan with a career-best 33 tackles and three pass break-ups in 11 games.  Started the season as a back-up as he fought mono but worked his way back into a starting role by the fifth week of the season.


Hicks knows he must get off to a fast and solid start this season as younger players are on his heels.  Fans still remember some poor play during the 2014 season but Hicks looked to put that behind him last season before being limited with mono.  When he’s on top of his game he’s a solid cornerback.  However, when he gets beat, he has shown that he can struggle to put it behind him and make plays afterwards.  One hopes maturity and experience has helped him in that area as he could play a very important role on the Spartans defense in 2016.

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