Hicks Looks to Build on Rutgers Debut

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Josh Hicks made his anticipated Rutgers debut Saturday in a mop-up role at running back. The freshman from Palmetto, Fla., also impressed on special teams with a 44-yard kick return. Hicks spoke after the game about his first time on the field after committing two years ago and what it means going into Penn State.

Josh Hicks remembers how it felt as a sophomore kid on the Rutgers campus. He dominated running back drills for two straight days in a camp under the supervision of assistant Norries Wilson.

That led to a verbal offer after camp ended, a commitment and the start of a new dream for Hicks.

As of Saturday, more than two years later, Hicks says he lived it.

“I’ve been picturing myself for a long time, ever since I was a sophomore in high school,” Hicks said. “When I committed here, I pictured myself wearing the RU uniform and all of the fans cheering.”

Hicks took the field on the first play of the game Saturday, replacing the injured Justin Goodwin on kick return. He left the field three hours later with a dirty No. 8 uniform and dozens of messages from loved ones after his debut.

“It was a real awesome experience to go out and join my family and my friends on the field,” Hicks said. “It was wonderful. It was like I always dreamed it would be like coming true.

“It’s an honor to be a part of this offense like Paul James and Michael Burton. I took a lot of lessons from my first game. They’re going to help me take it to the next level.”

The next stop for Hicks is a key role Saturday night against Penn State. Goodwin sits at questionable entering practice this week, and is off of the preliminary depth chart with an upper body injury.

Hicks takes over Goodwin’s spot as a kick returner for the second straight week, and is a third running back option behind James and Desmon Peoples.

“I’m just going to focus on my game,” Hicks said. “I don’t want to get distracted. … I’ve been waiting for [the Penn State game] because they’re a good team. But I have to look at only the next game. Now it’s here. We have to go out there and execute.”

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