Hicks All In at Safety

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Position makes no difference to freshman Josh Hicks when it comes to helping Rutgers in the second half of the 2014 season. The newly converted safety spoke to Scout.com Thursday about enjoying his new position and the need to learn more about the position.

Freshman Josh Hicks is about two things on the football field – making an impact and helping Rutgers push for a conference championship.

At his new position of safety, Hicks sees the chance to do both. Rutgers coach Kyle Flood asked Hicks to move to safety during the bye week, where Palmetto (Fla.) High School coach Dave Marino – a Rutgers grad -- also marketed Hicks as an impact player on defense.

“Coach Marino, I love him,” Hicks said about being considered a defensive guy. “That’s like my best friend. As a defensive player, I’m a talented DB. I love to hit. I love to make interceptions. I love making plays.”

Hicks is three days into his job at safety. He said he misses running back at times, but moved past it quickly after taking the field.

“The biggest adjustment is probably footwork,” Hicks said. “As a defensive player, you’ve got to have placement on the ball. As an offensive player, all you have to do is run the ball and make people miss and get to the end zone. Defense, you have to stop people on third downs, create turnovers.”

Hicks is a 5-foot-10, 205-pounder that is solidly built and eager to make his first live hit. Hicks’ job in the meantime is to learn the position behind Johnathan Aiken, Delon Stephenson and Andre Hunt.

“I’m very comfortable at my spot right now,” Hicks said. “My teammates life me up like Lorenzo and Delon. They help me. Coach Rossi, he helped me every day learning basic coverages. We’re just trying to win the championship.”

Hicks said he plans to look forward regarding safety, and not back at running back unless he returns.

“Once you make that transition, you become one with that spot,” Hicks said. “I’m comfortable right now at this safety spot. …I just want to get in and learn the system. When my number is called, I’ll be ready.”

Rutgers continues its use of Hicks on special teams. Hicks works with Janarion Grant in some kick return packages, and remains focused on keeping his chance to play.

“It’s very important,” Hicks said. “It’s a part of every day, and if you don’t compete every day and beat that man up, you’ll lose your job. It’s a battle. If you don’t compete, you’ll lose your spot.”

Flood expects Hicks to remain on defense through the Ohio State game.

“We’re just taking it day by day,” Hicks said. “I’m not sure what the plan is going to be, but whatever they put me at, I’ll play it in a heartbeat. I’ll do whatever they want – any position, I’ll play for coach Flood.”


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