For Mylan Hicks, the choice was easy: Michigan State is home.Â Home where his other family lives, the people who will be there to support him in the classroom, on the field and as he matures into adulthood.
Such are the expectations of Hicks, a standout Detroit Renaissance cornerback who committed to coach Mark Dantonio and the Spartans earlier this week.Â MSU beat out a number of programs for Hicks' pledge, including Arizona, Colorado, Wisconsin and Michigan.
"It feels great," to be a Spartan, Hicks told Spartan Nation.Â "I love the coaching staff and even the fan base.Â It's wonderful."
Of course, having friends and former teammates in the MSU program didnâ€™t hurt, either.Â Spartan commits from earlier this season include Dana Dixon and Chris Norman, a pair of players who roamed the field with Hicks at Renaissance last year.
"With Chris and Dana there, I felt like this is where I could play for the next couple of years," Hicks said.Â "And the coaching staff, it's like a family up there and I felt like I wanted to be a part of it."
Hicks' ultimate goal, he says, is to reach "The League."Â While he has a firm grasp on how difficult it is to make money in the NFL, and how important his four to five years at MSU will be â€” both on the field and in the classroom â€” his ambitions remain lofty.
"Well, my initial goal is to get up there and play, get my body ready and mentally ready to play at the next level, but my ultimate goal is to make it to The League, so whatever I got to do, I want to make it there," Hicks said. Â "But at Michigan State, my goal is to compete and win a Big Ten Championship, just compete and go out there and become one of the premier corners in the Big Ten, possibly the country."
Regardless of if Hicks makes it professionally, he'll always have expert role models to study.Â When he details his favorite players at cornerback, Hicks mixes some old with some new.
"Deon," Hicks says, omitting Deon Sanders' last name in a sign of high reverence, "everyone tries to emulate his game."Â Hicks also identifies Champ Bailey by his first name as well.Â "Most of the guys he (Bailey) goes up against are taller or bigger than him, so I would say Deon, Champ, and another one recently has been Dominique (Rodgers-) Cromartie, he's really fast."
In a mystery destined to linger for ages, the Phoenix missed the playoffs last season, despite the wealth of talent on Detroit Renaissance's team, including the top sophomore in the state, linebacker Lawrence Thomas.Â Hicks plans on making sure no one remembers that aberration.
"We're definitely just trying to get back to the playoffs," Hicks says, "compete for a championship."