Out Of The Shadows: Dan Hicks, Florida State
Each week throughout the college football season, we will take a look at prospects who have spent time "living in the shadows" of their higher-profile teammates.
We start with Dan Hicks, an outside linebacker from Florida State. Hicks spent all of last season sidelined (and was targeted to play tight end had he not injured his knee), but this year he will be back, on the defensive side of the ball, looking to fill the shoes of Brandon Jenkins and Bjoern Werner, both of whom are now in the NFL.
So what can Seminoles fans expect from Hicks? To start, Hicks is one of the more experienced members of an inexperienced defensive front, and has received high praise from coaches. He's a redshirt senior and has two seasons' worth of experience playing for Jimbo Fisher, albeit at defensive end and in a limited role.
As a reserve end in 2010 and 2011, Hicks totaled 34 tackles with 7.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks. He showed a good ability to make plays in the backfield on run plays and flashed at times as a pass rusher.
Hicks has good size (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) and has added weight since the last time he saw the field in 2011. He also displays good strength and explosion off the line of scrimmage. Hicks also appeared to be showing no ill-effects of his knee injury and has appeared to return to full speed.
With Hicks returning to full health, he will likely be looking to make an impact to get his career back on track. Expect Hicks to make a splash on a defense that features nose tackle Timmy Jernigan, middle linebacker Christian Jones and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. Although Hicks in a comparative unknown, he has the potential to become one of the better pass rushers in the ACC. His combination of size, speed and experience make him a prospect to watch.