"He played 7 or 8 years in the league," added the very articulate Dan Hicks, who scored a 31 on the ACT. "My father now lives in Jacksonville, but I was born and raised in Oxford and he is from this area too."
are the strengths of this All-Region and District performer?
"My strength is that I block real/real well. But when I catch it, I get yards after the catch. I just do not catch it and go down. I get YAC yards. I can block and run."
Hicks does have one goal in mind during the offseason.
"I want to get my 40 time down. I want to work on my quickness, stay in the gym, and get stronger. My football skills are fine. I do a lot of drills on my own. All of that will take care of itself. I just need to keep working on my conditioning."
Dan attributes much of success to his mother.
"She is my biggest role model and supporter. Mom never misses a game, and she always brings a big crowd with her to the games. She is also the loudest one in the stands too (laugh). She gives me the motivation and brings out the potential in me. She is my rock."
Dan had a chance to attend Ole Miss' Jr Day this past Saturday and came away impressed.
was different than what I was expecting. I got a lot more attention than I thought
I would get. They said I would more than likely get an offer if I came to their
camp. I met a lot of the recruits, and I thought they were going to be bigger
than me, but they were all about my height or shorter. I didn't know I was as
big as I am until I stood next to everyone. The food was real good (laugh), real
good. They had some great doctors on hand to explain about our conditioning and
all of those things. Jr Day was real good at Ole Miss. I was very impressed."
Hicks has grown up going to Ole Miss games and has been on the campus numerous times, but there was some new things he learned on this visit.
"I did not know that the coaches actually like their TE's as much as they do. They encouraged me that I would be involved in the offense if I went there. They said they were going to get me the ball. I also did not know that their trainers were that good. They increase your vertical, strength, just all kinds of stuff. Most trainers heal you but they do not improve your athleticism like Ole Miss'."
The coaches also impressed Dan.
"That is what stood out to me the most, was Coach Nutt. Most of the coaches I have met, well, I have only met one other head coach and that was MSU's. Well, most of them are not that into it like Coach Nutt. Coach Nutt might not look young, but he has the energy of someone young. Coach Nutt just really stood out to me. He talked to me about coming to the camp and having a chance to get an offer. He wants me to start hanging out with the program more. He wants me to come over to the practices, hang out at the facilities and build a relationship with him and his staff. He just wanted to make sure we were on the same page."
Some players want to get "away" for college and go some where new. How does Dan feel about that?
"I enjoy watching Ole Miss. I enjoy all of their activities. I go to a lot of their games, in all sports. I even play against a lot of their players in basketball at the Turner center. I am friends with a lot of the players at Ole Miss. But I never said to myself, oh my goodness, I just have to go to Ole Miss. I always wanted to go outside of Mississippi to see what it is like, but do not tell my mom that (laugh). She would have a heart attach if I left her (laugh). I was just always curious about what else is out there outside of Mississippi. That does not mean I am going to leave the state to go to college, but I do want to see what else is out there."
But it just so happens that the interest he is receiving is from the Big 3 in the state of Mississippi.
"Mississippi State has offered me and Ole Miss and USM are recruiting me real hard. That is pretty much it right now. I am suppose to go down to USM for Jr Day this Saturday if I can find a ride. I went to MSU's Jr Day a few weeks back."
How did the MSU Jr Day go?
"It was a whole lot different than Ole Miss', just for comparison sakes. Their coaches are not all hyped up like Ole Miss', but they are real friendly and laid back. MSU is really looking for a TE, so that really drew a lot of attention to me because they lost all of their TE's last year. But they are more concerned about your education and making your grades. I like that about them. Coach Croom wants to be your friend, and he told me a bunch of stories about when he use to coach in the NFL. He said he knew what it takes to get someone to the league. I liked MSU. It is a good college."
What will Dan look at when it comes decision time?
"I am always wondering what college will let me play both football and basketball. I know it is hard to play both sports, but if some college said, Dan, you can play both, I am committing right then and there (laugh). No really, in football, I want them to make me a better player, get a chance to get some early playing time, and see how they treat their players. If they fit those three criteria, I will know I have found a home."
Dan averaged 15 points and 6.9 rebounds for Oxford's basketball team this past season.