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Ronnie Hickman, teammate of Penn State commit, keeps Lions in mix
The collegiate athletic recruitment of Ronnie Hickman is among the more unique to monitor. He committed to the Rutgers lacrosse program in August 2016, before his sophomore football season, and warrants widespread interest as both a defensive back and receiver.
Though Hickman remains a prized lacrosse prospect, it’s become apparent that football is a key piece of his future. He noted this mindset last offseason when we spoke after a camp.
“When I got to high school, the competition became so much greater on the football field and made me realize how much I love the sport,” Hickman said. “Playing at the next level is something I think about a lot now.”
The DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.) junior is now considering six universities. Hickman declared his favorites on Monday night, including Penn State. The Nittany Lions are joined by Florida, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Rutgers and Virginia Tech.
Hickman, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound prospect, has visited Happy Valley several times. DePaul Catholic quarterback Taquan Roberson committed to Penn State last October, and he’s been pursuing his teammate ever since.
“Off the field, Ronnie is like my best friend. On the field, he’s an absolute baller,” Roberson said. “We spend a lot of time together, so [Penn State] is something I bring up a lot.”
This duo consistently connected in the Spartans passing game en route to a state championship last season.
Hickman collected 44 receptions for 809 yards (18.4 per catch) and 10 touchdowns, according to MaxPreps. He added 47 tackles, 9 pass breakups and 2 interceptions on defense.
When asked on which side of the ball Hickman should play in college, Roberson struggled to answer.
“I honestly can’t tell you because I love to throw it to Ronnie but I would hate to throw it against him,” Roberson said.
Hickman is considered the No. 2 overall talent in 247Sports’ 2019 composite rankings for New Jersey, where the Nittany Lions landed elite talents Justin Shorter (receiver) and Jayson Oweh (defensive end) last cycle.
DB Marquis Wilson reveals favorites before Happy Valley visit
Less than three hours after Hickman announced his collection of top schools, Connecticut defensive back Marquis Wilson followed suit. The 4-star recruit revealed 10 options that stand out, and it’s no surprise to see Penn State make the cut.
Wilson will take an official visit to Happy Valley for the Blue-White Game weekend (April 20-22). He’ll be accompanied by his parents and brother, and the Nittany Lions seem to be in an enviable position as his recruitment reaches a crucial stretch.
“I feel like the more we go to Penn State, the more we fall in love,” Wilson told Land of 10. “Everything about the atmosphere around campus is great hospitality.”
Penn State faces competition from the following nine programs: Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. The Nittany Lions are one of five Big Ten teams in contention.
Wilson intends to use an official visit at Pittsburgh in mid-June and is also in the process of setting up an official visit to Iowa. He mentioned Florida as a potential travel destination during our conversation Sunday, but the Gators were not featured among these favorites.
A 6-foot, 175-pound junior at Avon Old Farms (Avon, Conn.), Wilson won’t wait long to make a decision. He wants to commit to the university of his choice “no later than early July.”
Wilson, who most recently spent time in State College for a Feb. 3 junior day event, is teammates with Penn State quarterback target Taisun Phommachanh. He is a close friend of fellow Nittany Lions defensive back prospect Tyler Rudolph, who also will use an official visit for the Blue-White Game.
Listed as the No. 24 athlete nationally, Wilson said Penn State projects him as a defensive back, specifically referencing cornerback. However, he isn’t ready to rule out the possibility of playing receiver in college.
Wilson tallied 9 touchdown catches and 6 interceptions in 2017, according to MaxPreps. Watch his junior-season highlights here:
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