We’re counting down the 25 best former Texas athletes still competing in their sport. Each day we’ll reveal a new athlete.
No. 24 Jordan Hicks, football
One of the greatest recruiting wins of the Mack Brown era, Jordan Hicks, the No. 1 recruit in the state of Ohio in the class of 2010 and a linebacker from West Chester, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati, chose to play ball at Texas. Of course, Hicks felt the local backlash of picking the Longhorns over the Ohio State Buckeyes, but explained he wasn’t an Ohio native. Ironically it was future Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer’s decision to retire and unretire in a matter of days at Florida, and Texas’ commitment to defensive coordinator, and future Florida head coach, Will Muschamp, that helped pull Texas over the Gators in his recruiting. Once he got to Texas, Hicks’ career was marred by injury. During his junior season he suffered a season-ending hip injury after starting the first three games and was given a medical redshirt. The next season, Hicks suffered a ruptured left Achilles tendon after starting the first four games and missed the rest of the season. In 2014, with a new head coach (Charlie Strong) and on his fourth defensive coordinator since arriving at Texas, Hicks started all 13 games in the 2014 season. He finished his Texas career with 276 tackles, 19.5 for a loss and 4.5 sacks.
Pro career: Despite the injuries in college, Hicks was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft in 2015 — the 84th pick — by the Philadelphia Eagles. After recording 42 tackles and picking off two passes, Hicks’ rookie season ended early in November when he suffered pectoral injury and was placed on injured reserve. However, Hicks’ sophomore season was terrific. He started all 16 games as the newly inserted middle linebacker for the Eagles. He picked off five passes and recorded 95 tackles — 68 solo tackles. His third season, however, lasted only seven games in 2017. Hicks suffered another Achilles injury and was placed on injured reserve, missing a chance to play in Super Bowl LII that the Eagles won 41-33.
Why he’s here: Hicks’ second season in the NFL may have been the best a Longhorn NFL player had in 2016. He looked like a future mainstay at middle linebacker with the athletic ability to be a threat in passing coverage. There’s little doubt that Hicks would be higher on the list if not for the same issues that kept him from becoming a true super star at Texas: injuries. He says he’s healthy and ready for his fourth season — a contract year.
News on Bevo Beat is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of Hookem.com is included with an Austin American-Statesman subscription in addition to Statesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe today at statesman.com/subscribe.