CB Darian Hicks, Solon HS (Ohio) - (6-foot, 175 pounds)
Ratings: Rivals (3 stars), Scout (3 stars), 247 (4 stars), ESPN (3 stars)
Other notable offers: Penn State, West Virginia, Virginia, Iowa
A week after losing OL Caleb Benenoch, MSU again reached seven commitments when Ohio cornerback Darian Hicks committed to MSU on Wednesday night. With so few scholarships to hand out, especially to defensive backs, picking up one of the staff's first offers is big. MSU was the first Midwestern school to offer Hicks, and that played a factor.
Hicks likely will be the only cornerback in a recruiting class that now is about half-full.
In Hicks, MSU is getting a speedy corner that the Spartans have been very high on for some time. Last season, Hicks recorded 41 tackles, three interceptions and six touchdown catches for a 10-2 Solon team. He played both sides of the ball, along with returning kicks.
Hicks participated in the U.S. Army National Combine in January, as his stock continued to rise. Boston College was his first offer, followed by MSU. After that, more high-profile schools followed suit.
247 reports that Hicks has been told he could see some time on the other side of the ball. This is nothing new for Dantonio, who wants to put his most-skilled players anywhere he can.
While the defensive coordinator at Ohio State, Chris Gamble played both ways in the national championship season of 2002. Since coming to MSU, tight end Kellen Davis played some defensive end in 2007 and Tony Lippett played both receiver and corner last season. In this year's Spring Game, Johnny Adams played some receiver and Dantonio hinted it could be part of the offense in the fall.
MSU has good history of developing defensive backs under Dantonio. Since 2007, Jeremy Ware, Chris L. Rucker and Trenton Robinson have been drafted. Adams is expected to be drafted next season. Darqueze Dennard was a two-star recruit out of Georgia, but earned All-Big Ten honorable mention as a sophomore last season.
MSU had offers out to only a handful of defensive backs, and the spot (or spots) were there for whomever jumped at the opportunity first. The Spartans are thrilled that Hicks took that spot.
Looking at the current class, MSU still would like to add some linemen on both sides of the ball. Having seven commits at this point isn't a bad thing, especially when they're going add just seven or so the rest of the way. Again, MSU isn't going to be high in the recruiting rankings because they're not going to have a big list of commits. But each commit they've picked up so far has been high on MSU's board.