In a little over two seasons playing cornerback for Detroit Renaissance High School, Mylan Hicks has proven just that.
Ranked the 18th-best corner in the nation by Scout.com, Hicks was hardly challenged during his junior season because the opposition refused to throw his direction. Opposing wide receivers weren't so lucky at the Scout.com Chicago Combine.
In addition to running a blazing 4.49 40-yard dash, 4.25 in the short shuttle and 7.38 in the three cone, Hicks shut down some of the top receivers in the Midwest in one-on-one drills, proving why he is becoming a coveted 2010 recruit.
"Personally, I have had some success at my position," Hicks said. "I definitely feel that I have lived up to the name, but I have to come out here for another day and show that I can play with the best."
Playing with confidence and an aggressiveness to make a play on every play, Hicks is the epitome of a competitor on the field, willing to come up and make contact with a receiver at the line of scrimmage, force the receiver to redirect his route or sit back and wait for the quarterback to make his choice, then using his quick feet and agility to make a play on the ball.
With a wide arrange of role models Hicks has looked up to, it's no surprise to see he's tried to incorporate a little bit of the ‘greats' into his game.
"Of course any cornerback who says they don't have a role model is lying," Hicks said. "I've looked up to Deion Sanders, Champ Bailey and the rookie from Arizona (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie). He was really great last year. Those are some of the guys I watch. Like Deion, if you throw the ball at me in the air, you're going to pay for it."
Many colleges are hoping that those tremendous high school traits carry over into the college ranks. Hicks has over 15 offers but could be in store for some more offers in the coming weeks, as coaches from Ohio State, Penn State and Notre Dame have all come to take a look at the 5-foot-11, 179 pound cornerback.
"I have lost count of how many offers I have," Hicks said. "I want to start narrowing them down but every time I start, more offers just keep rolling in. If those schools (OSU, PSU, ND) offered, it would complicate things … in a good way. It would give me a lot more to think about when I am picking my schools. I am just waiting until things slow down."
Although he is waiting to trim down his list, Hicks has started to take some unofficial visits when he can, checking out the campuses of Michigan, Michigan State, Tennessee, Toledo and Vanderbilt. Of those visits, Hicks said the visit to Knoxville was the most eye-opening trip.
"There's definitely a difference," Hicks said. "The city of Tennessee is so beautiful and there's definitely a difference from Detroit. It's just good to get away from home and see things outside of home. It makes it a new and difference experience."
One school that Hicks does want to put on the travel schedule is Wisconsin. Since the Badgers offered Hicks in late April, assistant coach DelVaughn Alexander has stayed in constant contact with Hicks.
"Coach Alexander is sending me a lot of emails," Hicks said. "We're talking a lot, which is good. The Badgers are recruiting me hard. Wisconsin is probably in my top five, but it's kind of hard with the list I have to make favorites."
With only Vanderbilt offering the prospect on the offensive side, Hicks looks poised to be showing his skills in the defensive backfield or returning kicks. With plenty of offers on the table, Hicks will spend his summer working on his speed and agility, something that will only make him more dangerous.
"I definitely want to become more flexible, and that translates into a lot of things in football – my speed, my quickness and my hips," Hicks said. "Hips are a very important part to a corner. As long as keep them loose, you're going to be great. I just want to improve myself as a player overall and make myself work.
"I don't care what I do, because I just like the ball in my hands. If I can get a chance to, I will definitely take advantage of that."