Doc Five: Top five defensive players poised for a comeback in 2014 - No. 5 - Jordan Hicks

Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks (3) tackles Mississippi running back Jeff Scott (3) during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, in Austin, Texas. Ole Miss won 44-23. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas)

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.

Last week, in honor of the San Antonio Spurs rebounding from a crushing defeat in 2013 to win the 2014 NBA Finals in triumphant fashion, we decided to focus on the college football players who suffered setbacks last season who are prime candidates to come back strong.

We started with the offensive side of the ball for our countdown last week and included guys like Florida’s Jeff Driskel, Utah State’s Chuckie Keeton and Louisville’s Michael Dyer.

Now we will turn it over to the defensive side of the ball.


No. 5: Jordan Hicks, LB, Texas

Expectations were sky-high when Jordan Hicks arrived at Texas in 2010. Hicks was a five-star recruit and the top rated outside linebacker in the country coming out of Lakota West High School in suburban Cincinnati. He decided to take his talents to Austin over offers from other schools like Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Ohio State and USC.

Hicks was expected to be an immediate contributor for Mack Brown’s Longhorns in 2010 – and he was. Contributing mainly on special teams and seeing action at linebacker in eight games, Hicks tallied 23 total tackles including a breakout 11-tackle performance on the road against Nebraska. Hicks then started eight games as a sophomore and ranked sixth on the team with 65 tackles.

His junior season – the 2012 campaign – was supposed to the be the year Hicks took the next step and established himself as one of the better linebackers in the Big 12. Unfortunately for Hicks and the Longhorns, after starting the first three games of the season and made 23 tackles before going down with a season-ending hip injury in that third game against Ole Miss.

Hicks was granted a medical redshirt, but after an encouraging start – 41 tackles in four games – Hicks’ season ended prematurely yet again. This time, he went down with a torn Achilles tendon.

So in 2014, Hicks will hope the injury bug stays away in his final season of eligibility. His injury kept him out in spring practice, but with Charlie Strong’s aggressive defensive scheme being implemented, Hicks has a real chance to thrive as a redshirt senior.

The talent is there, but if he can’t shake the injury bug, Hicks might not get a chance to showcase that talent that earned him that five-star rating five years ago. Assuming he is finally able to stay healthy though, Hicks will be a veteran leader for Strong and defensive coordinator Vance Bedford to lean on in their first year in Austin. 

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!