Ohio State Official Visit Goes Well for Hicks

Among the Ohio Stadium-record crowd that watched USC beat Ohio State 18-15 on Saturday night was Jordan Hicks, a player both teams hope will help them stay in future national championship races. Hicks made his official visit to Columbus for the game, and his coach told reporters it went well.

Although Jordan Hicks was making an official visit to Ohio State, his head coach at West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West said the five-star linebacker admired the teams on both sidelines.

"He was impressed by how hard both teams played," said Larry Cox, who filled in for Hicks on a previously scheduled media conference call Tuesday because Hicks is stricken with strep throat. "You look at the game itself and everybody played hard until the end."

In terms of Ohio State, Cox said Hicks was glad to see other sides of the campus besides the ones involving athletics. Hicks has made multiple previous trips to Columbus but typically just been around the football facilities.

"I think that impressed him as well so he gets a better feel for what the school is about," Cox said.

But when it was time to go to the stadium, what Hicks found was likely different than what he was familiar with.

"The game itself was just an awesome environment," Cox said. "He talked about little things. He was impressed obviously. Seeing as many Ohio State games as he had seen, that was probably the most electrifying crowd he had seen."

Among the 106,033 were many well-known figures, and Hicks was able to meet former Buckeyes Cris Carter and Santonio Holmes as well as former USC quarterback Rodney Peete and movie star Vince Vaughn.

"Obviously any time you're in that type of rich environment there is a type of star power that might awestruck a kid, but I think what impressed him was they knew his name prior to meeting him," Cox said. "He asked how do they know me coach? To be honest, I think that's how innocent he is."

While he liked what he saw of the Ohio State program and campus, the way the Trojans carried themselves on the field and the sidelines also caught the youngsters eye.

"I think he was impressed with the swagger they bring into the stadium - it was that us against the world mentality," Cox said. "He respects guys that have confidence like that. That appeals to him, so the visit itself, he had a great visit. He got to meet a lot of different people and getting to see the school itself was a big deal for him because there were things he had never seen up there."

Cox said Hicks spent time with Ohio State defensive end Solomon Thomas, a former Lakota West player who hosted him on his visit, and mentioned he has a prior relationship with DeVier Posey, a sophomore receiver from nearby Cincinnati La Salle. Tyler Moeller, another Buckeye from the Cincinnati area, spoke with Hicks at the game, but Cox was not sure what other players spent time with him.

Another important person on the trip was Hicks' mother, Kelly Justice. Cox said she came away happy with the visit as well and was even moved to tears when seeing the adulation and attention her son received from fans he passed on the walk from St. John Arena to the stadium.

"She said she had never been through anything like that," Cox said. "She said, ‘I got emotional over that.' Everybody yelling for Jordan and young kids coming up and high-fiving him and people wanting his autograph, that was really an emotional moment for her.

"She was really comfortable with the visit. She has a really good feel for the coaches. Her biggest thing is she knows the schools left on his list are all great football schools. The biggest thing that she wants is she wants to make sure it is a staff that will help finish the job of becoming a man she wants him to become because no matter where he goes at this point, the school and football will be great but she wants to make sure when he leaves he is the type of man she wants him to become."

In regards to what is next on the recruiting trail, Cox said Hicks will make an official visit to Texas when the Longhorns play host to Colorado on Oct. 10, and he plans to see Florida as well, although no date has been set.

The coach was not aware of firm plans for Hicks to visit his other finalists, USC, Alabama and LSU, but he did not rule out such things.

In the meantime, Hicks also has a high school football season to finish.

Cox said he was not sure if he would be healthy in time to play for the Firebirds, who improved to 2-1 with a 35-7 win over Kettering Fairmont last Friday night.

Lakota West opens Greater Miami Conference play this Friday night when the Firebirds play host to Hamilton.

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