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Badgers Football: Taking a closer looking at new Wisconsin cornerback Faion Hicks

Breaking down new Wisconsin cornerback Faion Hicks, one of six early enrollees from the 2017 signing class.

Faion Hicks

Cornerback

Commitment Date: 10/16/16

http://www.scout.com/player/192710-faion-hicks?s=193

Accolades

Finished high school career with seven interceptions and 75 tackles … rushed for 1,356 yards and 13 touchdowns … second-team All-Broward County by South Florida Sun Sentinel as a senior after helping lead Flanagan to regional semifinals … recorded 30 tackles and 3 interceptions as a senior … selected for Miami Dolphins Dade vs. Broward All-Star Game … as a junior, helped clinch Flanagan’s state title with fourth-quarter touchdown run in 2015 Class 8A championship game.

Recruiting Competition

Hicks committed to Wisconsin over offers from Appalachian State, Bowling Green, Colorado State, Florida Atlantic, Illinois, Iowa State, Miami (OH), Northern Illinois, South Florida, Toledo, UCF, Western Kentucky and Western Michigan.

Why Wisconsin? 

"The coaching part of the program is what got me. Coach Leonhard is excited to work with me and throughout the process has always sent me feedback on my highlights. That was big for me; someone willing to coach me and get me ready for the next level.”

"The academics speak for itself at Wisconsin. And then the atmosphere is crazy here; nothing like it. Also, seeing two South Florida corners have success here (Sojourn Shelton and Derrick Tindal) opened my eyes.”

Coach’s Comments

“I knew about him for a while and was kind of following him. I went to see him in spring ball and he was out, but was in contact with him and his coach. I loved his junior film and he was close (to an offer), but he had surgeries on both on his shoulders. We wanted to see how that was before we did anything with him. 

“I stayed in touch with his coach, went down and got a chance to see his senior film, which impressed me. He came on his (official), got checked out, was fine and that’s when we started pushing. He was always on the (recruiting) board, just kind of wait to see. Once he got checked out, we wanted to move on this kid.

“He was a natural fit for us. I like his size, I like his aggressiveness, he’s smart and he’s a competitor. I like the most that he’s a competitor. You talk to his coach, anybody who is associated with him, that’s the number one thing that comes out about him. You look at the film, he’s a no-brainer for us.” – Wisconsin defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield

Scouting Report

“An intelligent, savvy cornerback, Hicks is a playmaker who does a good job of transforming into the receiver once it's time to get vertical. Hicks is very aware of his surroundings and knows where the football is at all times. Hicks impresses when operating in zone coverage. He does a good job of reading the quarterback's eyes and shoulders, and then puts himself in play by tracking the ball and timing his jump. His anticipation and football intelligence allows him to get an early jump out of his backpedal, playing with good technique and bounce.

“He isn't the biggest cornerback across the map, but shows no problem getting his nose dirty and chipping in with physicality. Hicks has the tendency to throw a shoulder to deliver the blow, so wrapping up is something he can continue to focus on.

“Hicks also shows good hand use when playing in press-man. He bumps the receiver off their route, and then finishes off the play by staying in their back pocket down the field. He's not the most explosive defensive back, but is more than capable of turning an interception into a lengthy offensive gain.

“Like many South Florida kids, Hicks is a self-assured prospect. Whether it's playing 7-on-7 or suiting up for his high school, Hicks doesn't back down and lines up against some of the nation's premier pass catchers. Level of competition is certainly not a concern here.” Scout.com Florida Recruiting Analyst Corey Bender.

BadgerNation Prediction

Breckterfireld has spent the last six years down in Florida and has developed a lot of really solid relationship with high school coaches, leading to strong connections with high school prospects. UW’s goal is at least one or two kids every year from the state of Florida but were more than happy to land only the athletic Hicks – who also played as a wildcat quarterback - in a small class, and Breckterfield now feels Wisconsin is “ahead of the game a little” when it comes to recruiting the state’s 2018 players.

While he is not the most highly ranked defensive back in the state, Hicks is a well-rounded cornerback who can shut down opposing targets with his ability to change direction, attack the football and recover with his speed. Hicks has a chance to be the next good cornerback to go from South Florida to Wisconsin.


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