#43, Maurice Hicks, RB
(5100, 205, 4.55-4.64) North Carolina A&T
Notes: Born 7/22/78, in Emporia, Virginia, where he prepped at Greensville County High School, lettering as a tailback.
College: The all-time leading rusher at North Carolina A&T with 2,812 career yards in just two seasons. He gained 1,487 yards rushing in his first season; and gained 1,325 yards with 15 rushing touchdowns as a senior.
Pro: Originally signed by Chicago as a rookie free agent in 2002; spent the entire season on non-football injury list. Played for the Scottish Claymores in the summer of 2003, rushing for 546 yards on 74 carries (7.4 avg.) with 4 touchdowns, including a 93-yard score; also caught 6-56-1. Waived by Chicago on August, 31, 2003. Played for the Claymores once again in 2004, rushing for 329 yards on 74 carries (4.4 avg.) and 4 TDs and caught 20 passes for 128 yards. Worked with then Claymores head strength coach Martin Streight (now with the Vikings). He went to training camp with the San Francisco 49ers in 2004; began the season on their practice squad before being added to the active roster on November, 3, 2004; played in 9 games (with 2 starts) and finished with 96 carries for 362 yards (3.8 avg.), 2 touchdowns and a longest run of 38 yards; caught 16 passes for 154 yards, averaged 20.1 on 31 kickoff returns (with a long of 35 yards) and recorded 7 tackles on special teams. Played in 14 games (starting 3) in 2005, rushing for 308 yards on 59 carries (5.2 avg.) with 3 TDs and a career-long run of 73 yards, while catching 12 passes for 47 yards, averaging 20.3 on 34 kickoff returns (with a long of 40 yards), and was second on the team with 16 special teams tackles. In 2006, Hicks rushed for 29-82, caught 13-137-1, returned kickoffs 57-1,428 (25.1 avg., 64 long) and recorded 20 tackles on special teams. Played in all 16 games in 2007, rushed 21-117-1 (5.6 avg.), caught 14-86, returned kickoffs 63-1,502 yards (23.8 avg, 55 long) and 14 special teams tackles. Hicks posted the #1 and #2 kickoff return yardage totals in 49ers history and he is tied for second in the NFL over the past two seasons with 120 kickoff returns and third in the league with 2,930 yards. He also recorded 50 special teams tackles during the past three seasons (46 games).
Positives: Quick, shifty, nifty, productive runner with good vision, pick, balance and determination. Has a knack for bleeding yardage. Can break tackles and usually falls forward. Effective pass receiver out of the backfield. Steady, reliable, productive kickoff returner. Solid special teamer on kick coverage. Tough, hard-working and dependable.
Negatives: Does not possess any truly outstanding physical characteristic; lacks great size, power or true breakaway speed.
Summary: Hicks can fulfill the role as a backup running back, kickoff returner and special teams player. He could also fill a role as the team's third running back and occasional third-down back. He should be the favorite for kickoff return duty.
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