Rutgers Commit Hicks Gaining Attention

Palmetto (Fla.) running back Josh Hicks was the first to commit to Rutgers in the class of 2014 but is adding daily offers as schools come in during the spring evaluation period. checked in with Palmetto coach Dave Marino for the latest on Hicks.

Palmetto (Fla.) head coach Dave Marino knew that running back Josh Hicks would have his early Rutgers commitment tested when more schools got the chance for evaluation.

Now in the spring evaluation period, a Rutgers verbal commitment has not kept other schools from offering the talented tailback. The choice to commit to Rutgers, however, was a calculated decision and one that has not wavered, Marino said.

"He's a very talented kid and everybody is asking the same question," Marino said. "How firm is he in his commitment to Rutgers? I'd go back to the beginning when he first came up to the football camp in the summer. He was loving the place. He wanted to break Ray Rice's records."

Hicks was one of the top performers at Kyle Flood's first camp as Rutgers head coach. Earning an offer at camp and ready to commit on the spot, he delayed his decision at the urging of his coach and others in his corner.

Hicks made things official in October of his junior year, the earliest commitment at Rutgers in more than a decade.

"When he first came up for that football camp in the summer going into his junior season, he was all excited and ready to commit right then," Marino said. "He got caught up in everything and I told him he needed to understand the word 'commit' before he did anything. It's like marriage. He went to Miami, Alabama and when he came back from those, he still felt good about Rutgers."

Offers come in almost daily for Hicks since the spring evaluation period began, but he remains focused on spring football and his commitment to Rutgers was not a spur-of-the-moment decision, Marino said.

"That's what I've been telling the coaches as they come in, but they've certainly been coming in," Marino said. "It's going to intensify because that's what college recruiting is now. Everybody from Marshall, Miami to Clemson, South Florida … just about everybody that comes through offers him but that doesn't stop him from being really excited about Rutgers still."

Hicks followed fellow Florida native Jawan Jamison closely during the 2012 season and remained in contact with multiple staff members.

The three-star running back has not been back to Rutgers since his camp visit, but could return this summer with his coach for another camp.

"Coach Flood wants to get him back up to camp and he wants to, but it's up to Josh," Marino said. "I'm sure he wants to go. … That's also kind of the point of an official visit, which he'll be setting up for the fall."

Marino, a New Jersey native and Rutgers product, worked the Rutgers camp last summer and will return this summer to get his team more exposure.

Last year's camp led to Hicks getting his first offer and the emergence of athlete Cory Crawford, who signed with Temple in February.

"I started bringing kids up there about three years ago just to give our Florida kids a chance to compete and compare themselves with kids in the Northeast," Marino said. "Florida is rich in talent but there's not a lot of opportunity for kids. There's seven 1-AA programs right by Rutgers that can give a full scholarship. Here in Florida we only have two and camps are a great chance for our kids that aren't on or to get exposure."

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