RB Or DB? Hicks Gives His Thoughts

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Josh Hicks was a running back, then a safety, and now a running back again at Rutgers. It's been a whirlwind freshman season.

When Josh Hicks camped at Rutgers prior to his junior season at Palmetto (Fla.) High, he spent much of his time with the running backs, but he made a splash as a defensive back as well.

When Rutgers coach Kyle Flood saw Hicks perform last season, it was as his ability as a ball carrier that stole the show.

So there was reason Hicks came into Rutgers over the summer as a highly-regarded running back, and there was a reason when the secondary looked short on players, he was switched over for a few weeks.

But which one is Hicks, a freshman who appeared in 10 games, better at playing?

“I’m not really sure about that,” he said. “What I was hearing back home is I was a better DB than running back. That’s what a lot of people say but it is two different positions.”

Hicks made his mark early in the season on special teams, but lately it has been in the backfield. He ran for 114 yards and scored his first career touchdown during a Nov. 15 win against Indiana, and a week later he ran eight times for 31 yards at Michigan State.

Hicks should also figure prominantly in Rutgers' offense in Saturday's regular season finale at Maryland.

But Hicks didn’t move to running back until high school, where he played for former Scarlet Knight Dave Marino. As a senior, Hicks ran for 1,087 yards and 17 touchdowns in nine games.

But does he prefer offense over defense?

“I would go wherever they put me,” he said. “I would go there with no hesitation. I’m a team player.

“What I can say is my whole life I played defense. Only my last year at Palmetto, that’s when I played offense as a running back. In high school, I started off at corner and then they moved me to running back and the rest is history.”

Hicks, who has 169 yards rushing is averaging 18 yards per kick return, is also enjoying life at Rutgers, and it fits in with what Marino told him.

“Everything he talked about, like the atmosphere and developing people here, it’s an amazing place to be,” Hicks said. “I just feel grateful for an opportunity to be here.”

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