CJ Hicks feeling blessed to be officially a Buckeye, embracing changes in coaching staff and already aspiring to beat Michigan


As CJ Hicks thanked the crowd attending his signing ceremony on Wednesday night, he had to stop for a moment to reassemble his emotions.

Hicks had reason to be emotional. Having dreamed of playing football for Ohio State since he was a young child, Hicks was finally on the verge of signing the national letter of intent that would formalize that. Along with family, friends, Archbishop Alter High School coaches and coaches at Enhance U in Huber Heights, Ohio, Hicks took the pen and confirmed his place in the Ohio recruiting class. State of 2022.

Hicks had already been committed to Ohio State for 19 and a half months, announcing he would become a Buckeye on May 1, 2020, but Wednesday was the first day he could sign with the Buckeyes and the Ohio State could publicly acknowledge that he ‘he would join the program, which made it a special day for Hicks.

“Growing up Ohio State was my favorite team, it was the school of my dreams,” Hicks said. Eleven warriors after signing. “I watched the video (of the State of Ohio announcing his signing) three times. It was shocking. It is a blessing.

If you follow Ohio State football scouting closely, you already know how important Hicks is to the Ohio State scouting class in 2022. Ranked as the Global perspective n ° 12 and No. 2 linebacker in the class, Hicks is not only the highest rated prospect on the field, but also a player who has encouraged many other signers in the class to join him at Columbus. Ryan Day gave Hicks credit for playing an important role in bringing the class together during his press conference on signing day Wednesday.

“He got into this very early on and he recruited a lot of these guys,” Day said. “He built that relationship. ”

Hicks, however, is hesitant to take credit for the Ohio State’s recruiting success, knowing that many other people – from coaching staff and graduate assistants to other signers and their parents – were also responsible for recruiting. other class members for the Buckeyes. .

“I don’t take a lot of credit for recruiting because it’s not just me,” Hicks said. “I’m not trying to force OSU on people. Because you have to want to come to school yourself. So I’m just trying to help direct just in case you want to come.

What is not in question is how invested Hicks is in becoming a Buckeye, although it remains uncertain what the Ohio State defensive coaching staff will look like next year. While it remains to be seen whether coaches like Al Washington and Kerry Coombs who were instrumental in recruiting Hicks will still be with the Buckeyes when Hicks arrive in January, Hicks said he told Day that the departure of the assistant coaches would not influence his entry.

“Coach Day told me a bit in advance that there was going to be a change of coach. I told him it didn’t matter who was leaving. As long as I had a good relationship with (the new) coach, everything was fine, ”said Hicks.

Hicks has spoken to new Ohio State Defensive Coordinator Jim Knowles on several occasions, he said, and he watched the Oklahoma State movie to get a feel for the defensive plan. de Knowles, which he says will suit him well.

“They kind of have a similar defense to Alter, so it’s not that different, just different terminology,” Hicks said. “He’s a good coach and I like him. I appreciate it very much.

Hicks said Washington, who was Hicks’ main recruiter as Ohio State linebacker coach, told Hicks he expects to be back with the Buckeyes in 2022. But Hicks also said that he will understand if that changes.

“He told me he was coming back,” Hicks said. “I even talked to some of the linebackers who are up there because they say he’s such a good coach he could leave. And I don’t really have a problem with that. He does what is best for himself and his family. You can’t get mad at someone for doing what they dreamed of doing. He’s such a good coach. I see him being a defensive coordinator one day, I see him being a head coach one day. But like I said, that’s all he wants to do, all he wants to do. It is what it is.

“To me, you don’t just commit to one coach. Yes this coach does, you have built that relationship a lot with this person, but with me I have built relationships with all the coaches on the coaching staff. Coach Coombs, Coach Barnes, Coach Washington, Coach Day; even offensive coaches, Coach Alford, Coach Stud, Coach Hartline, Coach Dennis. It doesn’t really matter. As long as you want to be there, the coaches who leave shouldn’t really affect you.

While he’s not yet sure exactly what the Ohio State coaching staff will look like, he does know he will move to Ohio State on Jan.4, in less than three weeks. And he knows that from the moment he arrives, he will work hard to do whatever he can to help the Buckeyes win in 2022 – especially the final game of the regular season against Michigan.

Hicks echoed comments from two other members of the 2022 class, Caden Curry and Gabe Powers, who both said earlier this week that “it won’t happen again” when asked about the loss of Ohio State versus Michigan this year.

“All of us have had this mindset before that this is not going to happen again,” Hicks said. “This is where all of our heads are turned right now. Practice, make sure we all give effort, all give 110% and dominate every team we play against for the next four years.

Hicks also has additional personal motivation to beat Michigan, having trained with Wolverines safety Rod Moore when Moore was in high school.

“When he signed and signed up there, he kept telling me, ‘We’re going to beat Ohio State. We’re going to beat Ohio State, ”Hicks said. “I said, ‘You better beat them before I get up there, because when I get up there, that doesn’t happen.'”

Hicks will have the chance to help Ohio State turn the tide when the Buckeyes host the Wolverines at Ohio Stadium on November 26. For now, however, Hicks can’t wait to travel to Ohio State and experience his first offseason as a Buckeye – though he already feels like he’s part of the fraternity of the. team after attending every home game at Shoe this season.

“Growing up you look like games like that, it’s like, ‘Oh my god, this is Garrett Wilson, this is Chris Olave.’ But now it’s like I go to the locker room and they have a regular conversation with me, “Hicks said.” It’s crazy.


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