Of the many surprises of the 2016 offseason, from the firing of Sonny Dykes to the many competitive hires that new HC Justin Wilcox has made, the de-commitment of CB Elijah Hicks form Notre Dame and his subsequent commitment to Cal was perhaps the most shocking especially when you take into consideration that we had no head coach at the time of his commitment. When you tack on the fact that Hicks is a highly regarded cover corner, rated a high 3-star recruit and 4-star recruit by many of the recruiting sites, it made it that much sweeter. Adding talent and depth to our secondary will be a pivotal step as we Coach Wilcox strives to resurrect the defense from the debacle that was Cal’s 2016 defensive performance.
What does Hicks bring to Cal?
We see that Hicks is an athlete and a competitor. He shows good speed and good ball skills. He has no trouble keeping up with opposing WRs and demonstrates great jumping ability as he high points the ball. Because he is 6-feet tall, he is able to use his size and his athletic ability to compete with larger WRs and consistently disrupt passes when he is in man coverage. Moreover, he shows solid hands on both offense as a WR, and defense as he intercepts a ball in the first play of the video. He tracks the ball well through the air, as there is a highlight in which he simultaneously tracks the ball through the air, sinks his hips, and flips his hips before leaping up to make an interception. Hicks also shows good instincts and awareness as he is always close to the ball when it reaches the hands of a WR, either breaking up the pass or tackling the WR right away.
Moreover, Hicks is versatile and plays hard. We see him block a punt and a field goal defense, showing great quickness and effort in order to do so. And on offense, we see him take on multiple tacklers, playing with physicality and toughness. We see that physicality carry over on defense as he makes some good open field tackles.
Though there’s only 4 minutes of highlight reel for Hicks, I think he shows us enough in those 4 minutes to get excited about his potential at Cal. Hicks shows us his athletic ability, that he is a player who competes, and that he is tough and versatile. It is easy to see Hicks being an important player for Cal in the coming years. Welcome to Cal, Elijah!