In 2010, Kyle Hicks was one of the best defensive backs in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex as a sophomore, earning honors as the District 4-5A defensive newcomer of the year for his work in the Arlington (Texas) Martin backfield as a result.
This year, he's hardly expected to play on defense at all.
Usually a team would build a defensive system around a star like Hicks, not remove him from it. Yet, according to the Dallas Morning News, there's a good reason for Hicks' sudden swap of every down defense to occasional cameos in the defensive backfield: Martin is relying on him even more in the offensive backfield.
Hicks is slated to begin the 2011 season as Martin's every down running back, a role which brings a very heavy workload even in years where the team enters with an established starting quarterback. Since Martin lost both starting QB Russell Bellomy (who is now at Michigan) and star running back Danzel Williams (who is at Oklahoma) in the Class of 2011, the team is expected to put even more emphasis on moving the ball on the ground.
That's where Hicks figures prominently in the offensive equation. The star defensive back had served as a running back as a freshman before he was moved to a defensive role in 2010. Now he's being asked to switch back to help the team, a move which could affect the junior's collegiate future; as a defensive back prospect, Hicks was being recruiting by Oklahoma, Texas A&M and TCU.
While some Martin fans might be worried about the effect Hicks' every down departure might have on the team's defense, summer returns seem to indicate they have a lot to look forward to when Hicks gets the ball on offense.
The rising junior stood out as Martin won the Red Bull Game Breakers 7-on-7 tournament, showcasing blazing speed and a knack for finding the open hole when lining up as a slot receiver (since 7-on-7 tournaments don't allow running plays). Assuming that vision translates to the plays where Hicks carries the ball, Martin may not lose much from Washington's departure.
That would be an incredible testament to Hicks' athleticism, and his ability to adapt to new roles without worrying about their affect on his own future. To Prep Rally, that sounds like just another reason why a top college program would want Hicks around.