6'6 JUCO DT From Cali is Taking USF Serious

The South Florida coaching staff is looking for immediate help on the D-Line. They may have found their man, all the way out in California! Find out why this 6'6, 295 pound NG/DT has the Bulls in his top 4 and when he plans to visit Tampa. Only on USFNation.com!

It's no secret the Bulls need to bulk up on the defensive line. They've been slowly improving by signing guys like Corey Grissom and Terrell McClain through the high school ranks, but this year they are looking to make a big splash and find immediate help. Enter Akiem Hicks, he's a 6-foot-6, 295 pound monster from out West, Sacramento City Junior College to be exact.

"I play nose guard and defensive tackle" Hicks added, "As a lineman I have a good first step and acceleration. I get off the ball pretty fast and I have good pad level."

Hicks tells USFNation that he had to go the JUCO route because he wasn't as focused as he should have been in high school.

"A lot of it had to do with my immaturity. My freshman and sophomore year I dug myself into a hole I couldn't get out of. I worked hard as a junior and senior but I was too far behind."

Two years as a JUCO athlete has molded Hicks into the student athlete he should have been in high school.

"Sac City is a great program, and I've matured a lot. I've gotten the support I need here and I'm ready to contribute to a major program. What I learned here will help me on the next level."

In total Akiem has 6 offers -- Oregon, Tennessee, Arizona, Purdue, South Florida and Kansas State. He's been offered by USF for about a month and is being recruited by Mike Canales.

"He's a good guy and I really enjoyed meeting him when he came out here. I like USF, they are a program on the rise and have made a splash since moving up to the Big East. I also like that the head coach has been there since the program started."

The Bulls have had problems in the past when they recruit on the West Coast, however, Hicks says the distance is a positive.

"Location isn't an issue at all, I love to travel and nowhere is too far."

Originally from Del Campo HS in Fair Oaks CA, Akiem stood out in his first year of JUCO ball with over 50 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 INT and a fumble recovery that he rumbled 30 yards for a touchdown.

"I mixed it all up in that run! Little juking and jiving, some speed, I even threw in a stiff arm. Anything a big man can do to get down there, never know the next time I'll get the ball!"

With 3 years to play 2 Hicks says he'll make his decision after his final game, sometime in November. Before then he will take a couple official visits. Hicks is on pace to graduate in May of '09.

"I plan on definitely going to visit Oregon, Tennessee, USF and Arizona. Those are my top 4, in no order."

Plans have already been set for him to come to Tampa during a bye week so that the staff can give him more attention and won't be distracted by a home game.

This is one that USFNation will keep a close eye on throughout the summer, check back for more on Hicks and the other JUCO prospects the Bulls are recruiting.

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