30 Apr

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Hicks’ Winding Road Prepares Him for the NFL | Horns Illustrated

(via TexasSports.com)

(via TexasSports.com)

By Tyler Godwin, Texas Media Relations

Jordan Hicks knows adversity.

During his time in Austin, the five-year linebacker has been a student under two head coaches, four defensive coordinators and four linebacker coaches, while also battling two different season-ending injuries. But Hicks views it as a lengthy learning process and an advantage over other players because in his eyes, he's "been able to roll with the punches."

"It's been truly a test and some would say that it might have hindered my growth, but at the same time, it's developed me in places that a lot of other people haven't developed in," Hicks said. "For a lot of players coming out of college, they maybe have seen two defensive coordinators. There are a few occasions that you have people in my situation, but guys who are coming out ahead of me that are supposedly ranked higher than me in all these things, I think the versatility that I've been able to see will prepare me for this next level."

Hicks, who saw action in 45 career games with 28 starts, played in every game as a freshman and sophomore, but missed 10 during his junior year due to a hip injury and suffered an Achilles injury the following season, forcing him to sit out nine more contests. After a medical redshirt, Hicks was given another chance to show he wasn't giving up on his dream to play in the NFL.

"I had huge expectations coming into [UT], and I held myself to a high standard," Hicks continued. "For all of that to happen and for it to boil down to this last year, and really going into it, feeling pretty unsure about what's going to happen and where I would be at this time this year, to have it all boil down to this one year and perform, that was the biggest thing. I just had fun. The defense was awesome, the team was awesome, the coaching staff was awesome. To get the invite to the [NFL] Combine, it's all played out well."

During the 2014 season, Hicks led the team with a career-high 147 tackles (75 solo), including 13 for a loss. He even showed his versatility by pulling in two interceptions to rank tied for 14th in the nation among linebackers. His 147 tackles are tied for seventh on the UT all-time single-season list and were the most since Winfred Tubbs' 157 stops in 1992.

Those numbers helped him rack up quite a few accolades in the postseason, including second-team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation and the Football Writers Association of America, second-team All-Big 12 honors and being named a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award (top defensive player in the nation). Following the season, he was invited to the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. While on the Forty Acres, Hicks was named first-team Academic All-Big 12 twice, including the 2014 campaign.

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James Schleicher is the publisher of Horns Illustrated magazine. He's also a fifth generation Texan and lifelong Austinite. Follow @HornsIllus twitter to keep up with all things Horns Illustrated.