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Jordan Hicks: Tried and True (Article by Corey Eliot)


Aaron Carrara
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By Corey Elliot, HornSports Correspondent

 

INDIANAPOLIS – While most Texas Longhorn fans think it's deserved, in many ways, Jordan Hicks’ participation at the NFL Combine was not supposed to happen. Then again, a lot of what Hicks’ has endured was not supposed to happen.

Not once, but twice, the Hicks was sidelined with season-ending injuries. Add that to the tumultuous times of the Texas football program since his arrival on the forty acres, and everyone would have nodded in understanding had Hicks thrown in the towel.

Everyone except for Jordan Hicks, that is..

While everyone was writing him off, Hicks was busy crafting a new ending to his football story. Against steep odds, that story hasn’t ended yet.

In five seasons at Texas, Hicks missed a combined 19 games due to a hip injury, and an Achilles injury. Beyond what's involved in healing physically, the mental struggle of recovering from injuries is often harder than the rehab. It takes effort to remain optimistic, especially to do so when facing a season-ending injury.

“There was a difficult time after the first injury, I thought ‘I’m going to come back and ball out my next year’, I had a great mentality. Then I come back and have two (injuries) in a row,” Hicks said. “If I stayed healthy I could prove my ability, but going through that you start to question ‘what am I doing wrong?’ You just realize a lot of things are out of your control.”

But in 2014, Hicks led the Longhorns with 138 tackles and received invitations to the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine.

This week, at the NFL Combine, Hicks has already met with a few organizations, though he declined to name specific teams. He is currently projected as best suited for a 4-3 defense by scouts and draft analysts, but the turnover on the Texas coaching staff may actually be a benefit.

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Regarding those conversations with teams and scouts, Hicks said, “We’re on the same page with what I can get better at – using my hands, playing off of contact – but I think they also believe I have good instincts.” He continued, “I’ve had four D coordinators and four linebacker coaches in five years. Yeah, you can say ‘geez’ but it’s made me versatile. I’ve seen a lot, been taught a lot of different techniques and styles.”

Coming out of high school in Ohio, Hicks was a Parade All-American in 2009 and the Butkus Award winner, given to the best linebacker in high school football. That year, Texas won the Big 12 and lost to Alabama in the BCS National Championship. However, 2010 was not what Hicks and the Longhorns football program envisioned.

But it wasn’t just injuries and the program's mediocrity that plagued Hicks’ time at Texas. At the 2012 Alamo Bowl, while sidelined with a hip injury, Hicks was one of two players sent home for violating team rules.

Then, in 2013, in the regular season finale at Baylor, the Longhorns were one half away from winning the Big 12 conference .It was the the first time Texas was in reach of measurable success during Hicks' career on the 40 Acres – but, Hicks watched from the sideline with yet another injury.

“It sucks to get there and go 5-7 my freshman year and finish off my career 6-7. That is very frustrating because you don’t come to the University of Texas for that type of standard,” Hicks said. “I look back and I say, if I could have done this, if we could have done this a few plays there a few plays here it would have been a completely different season. (Almost winning the Big 12) changes your perspective. It’s not that I sit there and sulk in my decision to attend Texas, I would never change my decision. I love the University of Texas.”

The NFL draft takes place on April 30 - May 2. Jordan Hicks will be waiting on a phone call. He has another chapter to write in his story.
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