Hicks Having Strong Senior Season

Palmetto (Fla.) running back Josh Hicks is off to a fast start to his senior season. Fresh off a 265-yard performance Saturday, Hicks will play in front of future head coach Kyle Flood after a bye week. Palmetto head coach Dave Marino spoke with ScarletReport.com about improvements made by the first member of the Rutgers 2014 recruiting class.

Trailing 31 points against Bradenton (Fla.) Bayshore at halftime, Palmetto (Fla.) head coach Dave Marino referenced what he and running back Josh Hicks saw in a game the week prior between Rutgers and Arkansas.

Hicks, a Rutgers commit, and Marino, a Rutgers graduate, watched Rutgers come back to defeat SEC foe Arkansas after trailing by 17 points. Palmetto, down 31, did the same to beat Bayshore 41-38.

"It was one of those games where we had turnovers on our first five positions and everything went wrong," Marino said. "It was ironic. I wasn't trying to be a prophet. I was referencing the week before and we went back out and it came to fruition that week. We ended up coming back and we won the game 41-38. I already called coach Flood to thank him."

Hicks led Palmetto to victory with 265 yards and five touchdowns, a performance becoming the norm for the future Scarlet Knight.

"I compare him to [Miami tailback] Duke Johnson," he said. "We played Duke Johnson two years ago in the semifinals to go to state. You saw what he was able to do as a freshman going to Miami and I think Josh will do the same thing for Rutgers."

Hicks committed to Rutgers nearly 12 months ago, and is a significantly improved athlete since his visit to Rutgers in the summer before his junior year.

"He's stronger and that's the main thing," Marino said. "He's 210 pounds right now. He has breakaway speed and it's just ridiculous. We're playing a tough schedule. We're playing schools where you're talking about the best of the best -- Florida State and Florida type recruits every week. He'll bounce off a 75-yard run when the defender has the angle."

Hicks continues to receive interest from other programs after his early commitment, but he has no plans of exploring other options.

Hicks committed to Rutgers after taking multiple visits as a junior and remains high on Rutgers. Seeing opportunities at running back given to walk-on Paul James and true freshman Justin Goodwin have Hicks excited for a fair competition.

"That plays into any kid's decision," Hicks said. "There is a lot about Rutgers and the Northeast and the Big Ten, but all the kids these days are looking and seeing where they can play as quickly as possible. He watches the games and he sees the opportunities. When a walk-on kid beats out a guy like Savon, he gets excited about the opportunity because he's going to get a fair shot."

Hicks projects as a running back at Rutgers, but is also a top defensive back for Palmetto.

"He's playing both ways at a college level," Marino said. "It's incredible the kind of shape he's worked himself into. To be able to carry the ball 40 times a game and still be in there as a pass protector and play another 30 snaps on defense is just incredible.

"He'll play free safety, corner, strong safety. He's put together some impressive highlight. He's literally knocked three guys out of the game with some clean monster hits. He's a weapon when they throw the ball across the middle. He gets bat-downs at corner."


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