21 in 21: RB Josh Hicks

The 21 in 21 series is designed to introduce fans to the newcomers arriving at Rutgers this summer. In a once a day format, ScarletReport.com presents profiles of the class of 2014. Today, we look at the first member of the recruiting class – running back Josh Hicks.

Fresh off graduation from Palmetto (Fla.) High, running back Josh Hicks is preparing for immediate playing time when he enrolls at Rutgers in three weeks.

Hicks worked hard to finish his high school, and plans to bring the same intensity to Rutgers.

"I'm ready to go," Hicks said. "I'm just one step closer to my dream. I'm ready for RU."

Hicks committed to Rutgers nearly two years ago, and never reconsidered his decision. He fielded advances from more than 20 other schools, but stuck with the Scarlet Knights and coach Kyle Flood.

"I think he's going to be one of those dynamic Big Ten backs," said Palmetto coach Dave Marino. "That was why, I think, Michigan was pushing so hard to steal him from Rutgers. He's a big kid. He's already 210, and he runs very hard. I think it's perfect to think he has that breakaway capability on top of it."

Hicks watched the running back situation play out in 2013, and is eager to join the mix. After junior Savon Huggins started in the loss to Fresno State, both Paul James and Justin Goodwin received starting opportunities as the season progressed.

With health questions about Huggins and Goodwin, and the spring emergence of Desmon Peoples, Hicks simply wants to arrive on campus.

"I'll tell you what, he's real excited," Marino said. "He's been texting back and forth with Paul and Savon, and he's basically been saying, ‘you guys better be ready because I'm coming for your job. He's excited.

"He definitely sees the opportunity. For Paul to be a walk-on and to be able to beat out Savon last year, Josh feels like he's got a chance to go in and play. He's going to get a fair chance."

Hicks has been to Rutgers a total of two times – his camp experience, and official visit. Hicks camped and earned an offer during Flood's first year.

After visiting multiple SEC and ACC schools at the encouragement of his coach, he found nowhere that he could compare to Rutgers and made a decision.

"Josh is a little bit of a unique case because of how early he committed, but he's somebody who grew up idolizing Ray Rice as a player, and now for us, it certainly was an advantage," Flood said on having Hicks in camp. "Because he came to campus and it just confirmed everything he thought about Rutgers."

Hicks committed to Rutgers in October of his junior year before the Big Ten invitation came. Conference affiliation, however, was not a concern for him.

"Shoot, this was in the works even when Greg [Schiano] was there so Josh had a pretty good idea of what he was getting into," Marino said. "We'd always talk when I worked his camp, and the Big Ten was always the plan. Even when Josh committed, it was pretty darn close to when it was announced."

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