Michael Hicks

Michael Hicks shuffled around from safety to tight end back to safety to scout team QB to wide receiver his redshirt year. The coaches knew his athletic ability was immense. They just wanted to find the right "home" for the Jacksonville, FL, native. Read about it inside.

There comes a time in every successful college athlete's career when the light comes on.

It's the time when the tough transition from high school is basically over. When he feels he "belongs" on this level and being on this level of athletics is as natural and productive as high school was.

For redshirt freshman Wide Receiver Michael Hicks, that moment came late last spring in the last scrimmage prior to the Red-Blue Spring Game.

Hicks, who was backing up rising senior Carlos Suggs at the time, suddenly - almost unexplainably as there were few previous signs he was about to break out - became the go-to-guy, the primary target, the receiver the quarterbacks tuned in to the most.

Hicks was catching slants and turning them into big gains. He was leaping over defenders to make acrobatic catches. He was going deep. He was taking short passes and using his athleticism for chain-moving yardage.

His performance that day prompted Rebel Coach Ed Orgeron to ask one question of the 6-3, 210-pounder.

"Where have you been?"

The answer was simple, to Hicks.

"I was trying to find a home," Hicks responded to the question at the time.

If that day is any indication of the future of Micheal Hicks at Ole Miss, home base was located.

"I finally found a home and started getting used to my new position at wide receiver," noted Hicks, who played QB in high school. "Since then, it's been pretty smooth. I am glad to no longer be 'athlete' Michael Hicks and am now 'wide receiver' Michael Hicks. I needed to bounce around some my freshman year to see what I could and couldn't do on this level, but I'm glad to be settled in now so I can concentrate on mastering a position."

This summer, Hicks is working on getting in top shape and in continuing his education in learning OC Dan Werner's offense.

"The offense has a simple concept. Once you learn the concept, the little things make sense and start to fall in place, but none of us know all we need to know about the offense, so we are trying to learn everything this summer before two-a-days roll around," Michael adeed. "I know 80-90% of it now, but that other 10-20% is what we all have to focus on.

"Physically, I'm at 210 pounds now. I was closer to 220 when I was at safety. My goal is to be 205. I feel more agile and quicker at 205."

Michael was asked to assess his wide receiver skills. He was reluctant to talk about the "good stuff."

"I don't really look at my good qualities. I always look at my weaknesses and try to work on them," he explained. "The way I look at it is that I'm not the best wide receiver in the SEC, so I have a lot of work to do. My goal is to be the best."

Hicks has time on his side to reach his goal - he has four more years in his collegiate career, but considering the circumstances at wide receiver for the Rebels and his personality, he doesn't look at it in those terms.

"We need impact players at wide receiver now, not when I'm a senior. My goal is to be an impact player now," he noted.

Hicks has been impressed in summer workouts with the incoming freshmen wide receivers.

"They all have talent, they are all eager to learn. They remind me of me a year ago. They just have a lot to learn and will will have to have patience," he stated. "I want them to be good for two reasons. One, it will make our team better and that's the most important thing. Two, competition will make me better, it will make all of us better."

Hicks edged out Suggs for the top spot on the coaches' depth chart at the end of spring.

His intentions are clear - he expects to keep the job.

Days like that special day in spring training will help him meet those expectations.

"I remember that day. Everything was going my way and I finally felt like I was a big part of the team. I expect more days like that," he closed.

Needless to say, the Rebs need that at the young wide receiver slots.

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