DAYTON, Ohio — Archbishop Alter’s CJ Hicks is the definition of an athlete on the football field. He contributes to his team’s success as a running back, wideout, punt returner and kick-off returner, and shines as a five-star linebacker. His efforts on defense, as their WILL linebacker, recognize him as the eleventh best prep star in the country and third highest ranked linebacker. He is set to join the Ohio State Buckeyes upon graduation but is not losing focus on his current season.
According to Jonathan Simmons, Cleveland.com, Hicks is still in contention for the 2021 Ohio Mr. Football Award. He currently ranks him sixth in the state.
“Alter rolled over Carroll, 42-0, and the senior linebacker and Ohio State commit had a huge game,” Simmons remarked. “Hicks made 14 tackles, including three sacks and one other tackle for loss. He also rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries with a 20-yard touchdown catch as the Knights improved to 4-5.”
Following that game, which kept Archbishop Alter in playoff contention, Hicks caught up with Eleven Warriors to offer insight into his game. Although he had a monster game on offense and defense, he had one moment of slight disappointment when he briefly fumbled a punt before recovering. He was met with chants of “overrated” from the rival Carroll Patriots.
“They always talk trash,” Hicks said. “Last year when we played them, it was like 42-0 in the first (half), but after each quarter, they had a poster with Coach Day on it and me and they had five stars. After each quarter, they would pull down a star. They’d say, ‘Oh, you’re losing a star, so you’re not gonna go there.’ I just love their student section, even though they do talk a lot of trash. I like that stuff.”
Hicks has a good head on his shoulders based on his response to chats of criticism. This is a huge reason why he was a primary leader for Archbishop Alter’s qualifying playoff bid. On Oct. 22, they defeated Chaminade-Julienne to improve to a 5-5 record, which earned the Knights a playoff spot for their 21st season in a row.
While Hicks still has much to look forward to with the playoffs ahead, there are many who are looking to the past, pondering if he can contribute from day one for the Buckeyes on Saturdays at the next level. In response to this, Hicks stays calm, cool, collected and offers the truth as he sees it.
“It’s all part of God’s plan,” he said. “If God wants me to wait until my senior year, I’ll wait until my senior year. If God wants me to wait until my junior year, I’ll wait until my junior year. If God wants me to come in and start right away, I’ll do that too. It’s all part of His plan though.”
These are the words from a young man who doesn’t look past the moment in front of him. Fortunately for Hicks and the rest of the Knights, Saturdays can wait until after the final playoff run.
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