Top California line prospect likes the Cougs

THE WASHINGTON STATE OFFENSIVE LINE is showing the value of versatility, with several members rotating in multiple spots so far for the 3-1 Cougars. But no WSU lineman has yet lined up at fullback, which is where 6-3, 323-pound prep prospect Hayworth Hicks found himself recently. Hicks, who could play OL or DL in college, says he's high on Wazzu.

Washington State is among the schools regularly calling the athletic lineman out of Palmdale, Calif., since Sept. 1, the date schools could first place phone calls to prospective recruits. The Cougars are at the top of Hicks' list, with d-line coach Mike Walker forging a tight relationship with Hicks since early February.

Most schools like Hicks on offense, but Washington State is talking to him about playing on the defensive line.

Utah is Hicks' most recent offer, joining Washington State and Oregon in Hicks' top three. Ole Miss, the first school to offer Hicks and whom he placed in his top three last month, has not been in contact for the past several weeks.

"My top three? Washington State, Oregon and Utah," said Hicks. "Coach Walker, he's actually going to call me a little later."

Hicks said he will in all likelihood wait until after the season to take his official visits, preferring to focus on his academics and senior season in the near term.

"Washington State wants me to come out in December," said Hicks, who also noted Utah has greatly increased their recruitment efforts this month.

In addition to WSU, Hicks said he holds offers from Oregon, Utah, Oregon State, UNLV, Ole Miss, Arizona, Arizona State, San Diego State and Washington.

HICKS, NOT UNEXPECTEDLY, is powerful with a penchant for going through opponents, as evidenced by his 73 pancake blocks last season. In 2005, Hicks and his o-line teammates were rewarded with a breakfast at IHOP after collectively logging more than 200 pancake blocks. He plans on pouring more syrup on a stack this season.

"I don't even know, its a lot," said Hicks, when asked his and his team's current number of pancake blocks. "We might beat last year's record."

Off the field, Hicks' sunny disposition is much like that of Cougar defensive tackle Fevaea'i Ahmu, another lineman whose ferocious play on the field is in direct contrast to a very likeable and personable manner in street clothes.

What has made Hicks the Antelope Valley's most coveted line prospect is his great first step, a quick pair of feet and surprising athleticism. One area high school coach who has seen Hicks in action on Fridays told that seeing Hicks pull as an offensive guard, it's not difficult to envision him as a D-IA defensive tackle, crushing the pocket and chasing down quarterbacks. Some of that was on display earlier this month as Hicks moved over to fullback for a few turns.

"Coach says makes a hole. So hoo-boy, whoever is in the way..." said Hicks. "I hurt a guy last week on accident. I didn't mean to. Everyone else was pretty much moving out of the way but I guess he had the nerve to go head-up."

Hicks, all-league as a freshman and every year since, will be hoping to guide Palmdale to it's fifth straight Golden League title this season. Area newspaper scribes like their chances, seeing few teams with the chance in 2006 to get in the way of Hicks and Palmdale. Hoo-boy.

Hayworth Hicks profile

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