Stay updated with Nebraska Cornhuskers football recruiting in the latest edition of The Harvest, which posts at 7:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Don’t miss out on Nebraska recruiting news and check out previous editions of The Harvest here.
Marcus Hicks set for Nebraska junior day visit
A key 500-mile radius recruit will be in town for Nebraska’s junior day on March 31. It’s a familiar name for those who pay attention to Nebraska recruiting, as 4-star defensive end Marcus Hicks has been linked to the Huskers for quite some time. He and his father, Kelvin, who serves as a gatekeeper to Marcus’ recruitment, have visited Nebraska twice. Those visits, though, came under Mike Riley’s staff.
Running backs coach Ryan Held is now the primary recruiter for Hicks, after former defensive line coach John Parrella previously led his recruitment.
Over the last couple of weeks, Kelvin said, communication between the Hicks family and Held has picked up.
“It’s been pretty consistent,” Kelvin said. “Several times a week, we’ll probably text or something, touch base in some kind of way.
“He’s pretty cool. As far as texting and messaging goes, we have a lot of fun. Talk a little football, talk a little life, just give each other crap sometimes. I like him. We can’t wait to meet him in person.”
More importantly, Kelvin said Marcus also thinks highly of Held.
“He likes him,” Kelvin said. “He thinks he’s cool.”
Since Hicks has visited Lincoln twice, he won’t be focused on what he sees on the surface during this trip. For example, the Wichita (Kan.) Northwest star already knows the facilities are top notch. Rather, some goals of the trip will be to develop a relationship with the coaches, gain familiarity with their coaching philosophy and observe how they conduct themselves.
“Just to see what things have changed, as far as how they won the program,” Kelvin said. “The facilities aren’t really going to change. The fans aren’t going to change. We know all those things are great. We’ve been on the tour. We really loved it up there. It’s really just getting familiar with the new coaching staff.”
Communication with the new staff has increased, but it wasn’t always that way. The Huskers had a lot of work to do to fill out the 2018 class upon the coaches’ arrival in Lincoln. Still, it somewhat concerned Kelvin that the staff didn’t reach out as much as other programs did in December and January, but he quickly realized what was going on. Since Nebraska has wrapped up its 2018 class, things have gone a lot smoother.
“You don’t know how long it should be before you hear from them,” Kelvin said. “You know they’re busy going back and forth across the country. They’re coaching another team. They’re getting ready for bowl games. There was a little bit of a concern, but not much.”
Doubts lingered because, as Kelvin put it, there was no guarantee the new staff would like Marcus as much as the previous staff. But it would be an extreme oversight if the Huskers did not make Hicks, the No. 16 weakside defensive end in the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports composite, a priority recruit, especially given his proximity.
Both parties are ready to ramp up recruiting, with the unofficial visit at the end of the month a pivotal point.
Marcus and Kelvin never have been shy about taking visits, checking out several campuses last season. Recently, Marcus attended junior days at Texas and Texas A&M. He also took an unofficial visit to Notre Dame last weekend.
— Kelvin Hicks (@khicks71467) March 3, 2018
Kelvin said they will be at Michigan in a couple of weeks, before the Nebraska trip. They also intend to check out Washington and Oregon. The Oklahoma State spring game on April 28 also is on the agenda. Kelvin hopes to play the rest of the spring by ear and try to squeeze in as many visits as possible before the summer.
Oklahoma holds all five of the predictions on Marcus’ 247Sports Crystal Ball page.
Marcus Hicks’ father wants to see how he’ll fit with Huskers
A major point of emphasis during the visit will be the Huskers presenting how Marcus fits into the defensive scheme. In the 3-4 defense, Kelvin and Marcus want to see a detailed plan for how he will be used.
“Really getting familiar with their scheme and the system, and what their plans are for Marcus, is a priority,” Kelvin said.
Held has not detailed much regarding scheme because he wants Marcus and Kelvin to meet with the defensive assistants to discuss that part of the recruitment. But Held has told Marcus and Kelvin the Huskers are excited about the possibility of using him in a variety of different ways.
Kelvin said some programs see Marcus as a pass rusher on the line. Other teams see him as more of a traditional outside linebacker. The old Huskers staff envisioned Marcus as an outside linebacker, Kelvin said.
Kelvin thinks Marcus, who is 6-foot-5, could be too big for outside linebacker and too small for defensive end. Held offered some reassurance, telling Kelvin that no matter Marcus’ size, he will play somewhere.
“I’m very interested and excited and curious to see what they have planned for him,” Kelvin said. “He’s willing to try anything. He’ll do whatever coaches ask him to do.”
Marcus has spent most of his career with his hand on the ground, according to Kelvin, and has not played a lot of linebacker. However, Kelvin thinks he can be coached up at outside linebacker.
“This is really an important time for us, just getting as much details as we can,” Kelvin said. “His body is going to determine a lot of what they do.”
That, and the upcoming visit to Nebraska.
Missing out on Nebraska recruiting? Check out previous editions of The Harvest here.