KATY, Texas — In a commitment that caught recruiting fans and analysts off guard, Katy (Texas) Paetow five-star defensive lineman David Hicks Jr. announced his commitment to Texas A&M over Oklahoma on Wednesday afternoon in a ceremony at his high school.
Conversations were had with both coaching staffs in the waning hours, but his discussion with Texas A&M was the one that was good enough to put the Aggies over the edge.
“They were just telling me that I was a priority and how the depth chart looks,” Hicks said. “Just showing me how they’ll use me and how they need me there.”
His relationship with defensive line coach Elijah Robinson is one that stretches back to his time in middle school, and it was a big reason why he will take his talents to College Station.
“Me and Coach E are really close,” he said. “I always went back and visited on June 1 as soon as the dead period was over. Me and him have a really good relationship, it’s like an uncle and nephew.”
That early relationship also helped Texas A&M see Hicks develop as a person and as a player throughout his time in high school.
“It was really important because I’m really big on relationships,” he said. “I’ve been tight with them since eighth grade so they’ve seen me develop into the player that I am now.”
Defensive analyst Tony Jerod-Eddie and defensive ends coach Terry Price also played a big role as they continue the family atmosphere that was built with Hicks and his family.
“Coach E, Coach Tony and Coach Price are really great coaches,” he said. “I feel like they can develop me in all aspects of life, even as a man. They’re right down the street from the house. I’ll be able to stay close to home and close to my city.”
The element of surprise was possibly the hardest thing for Hicks during his recruitment, as he felt a lot of people expected him to be a Sooner all the way up until his announcement.
“I got predicted to Oklahoma and I didn’t want to get predicted again, so I just tried to keep it quiet,” he said.
Looking back, Hicks is grateful for his journey up to this point and is looking forward to what he can do in College Station.
“It was a really fun ride, this whole recruiting process,” he said. “I remember getting my first FBS offer from SMU. I remember being in camps in eighth grade and those were moments that really started everything. I’m just glad I am where I am now.”
At 6-foot-4, 255 pounds, Hicks is the No. 13 ranked recruit in the country for the class of 2023, according to Rivals. He is the No. 1 strongside defensive end in the country and the No. 3 recruit from the state of Texas.