Notre Dame has already loaded up at defensive end in the 2022 class, and now the staff is able to focus more on the 2023 class. One of the prospects to get a recent offer is Katy (Texas) Morton Ranch standout David Hicks Jr., marking scholarship No. 28 of the process for the widely coveted sophomore prospect.
Hicks, who stands at 6'4” and 250 pounds, is a highly intriguing prospects for a couple different reasons. At his size, Hicks has the force and strength to collapse the pocket at the high school level, and he does so often on his sophomore highlight reel. But in addition to his power, Hicks is extremely agile and athletic for his size.
Last season, Hicks played a combination of weak-side defensive end, strong-side defensive end and defensive tackle. In pass rush situations, the Notre Dame target showed good burst and created pressure, but he also moved laterally and shed blocks when tasked with stopping the run as well. In some clips, Hicks flew across the field with the speed and pursuit of a linebacker, so he is a very talented athlete.
In all, Hicks estimates that he posted around 70 tackles, eight sacks and five forced fumbles in his sophomore campaign. And now with an offer from Notre Dame under his belt, Hicks starting to learn more about the Fighting Irish program, though he does have a positive impression so far.
“What I like about Notre Dame is you have a really good education as well as going for a National Championship,” Hicks told Irish Breakdown. “It's pretty much a double-sided sword.”
Right off the bat, Hicks has made the connection between quality academics and a strong football program when it comes to Notre Dame, and that's part of what the talented defensive lineman has been hearing from Fighting Irish DL coach Mike Elston.
“He said they like the way I play and how aggressive I am with my hands and how I get to the quarterback,” Hicks said.
Hicks mentioned that he was caught off guard when he received a scholarship to Notre Dame since contact had been sparse prior but made sure to note that he was glad when he heard the news. In terms of a visit, Hicks confirmed that he does want to check out the campus in South Bend, though he does not have his visit schedule planned out yet.
At this juncture, Hicks holds offers from the likes of Alabama, Arizona State, Florida, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M and USC, so a lot of top programs are in the hunt for 247Sports.com's No. 31 overall players in the country. Out of that group, Hicks said he hears from the Crimson Tide, the Sooners, the Cardinal and the Sun Devils the most consistently, so they've shown a high interest in the 2023 defensive tackle.
Though his commitment is far down the road, Hicks said that proximity is important to a degree and that if he were to pick a school far away from home, it would have to be at a place he feels quite comfortable at.
Hicks is actually in Spring football with his Morton Ranch teammates right now. Over the offseason, the main focus for Hicks has been to improve his footwork, speed and hands, so he's hoping to see that work pay dividends soon.
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