Ohio State freshman linebacker C.J. Hicks had his black stripe removed following Saturday’s scrimmage at Ohio Stadium, which signifies his status as an official member of the team.
Hicks came to Columbus as a five-star prospect from Ketterington (Ohio) Archbishop Alter, where he was considered the top-rated linebacker and No. 7 prospect overall in the class of 2022.
He was one of 11 freshmen to enroll in classes in January and subsequently participated in spring practices, where he clearly impressed new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.
“His upside is fantastic,” Knowles said on Tuesday. “He really has a great quickness and athleticism that you don't see out of many linebackers at that size, so it's just a matter of how quickly can he learn, get himself up to speed so that he can use those tools.
“Sometimes when you're thinking too much, you can't use your tools, right? So we’ll just keep working with C.J. so that he gets it down, so he can really cut it loose, but I think his upside is going to be amazing.”
Hicks now becomes the second freshman and third newcomer to lose his stripe during fall camp, following the lead of Arizona State transfer linebacker DeaMonte Trayanum and cornerback Jyaire Brown.
That brings the total number of black stripe removals this year to six, as Oklahoma State transfer safety Tanner McCalister, safety Kye Stokes and defensive end Caden Curry had theirs removed during spring practice.
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