During the summer doldrums of sports news, many college football fans are starved for news and information regarding their favorite teams.
With that in mind, we at B5Q have decided to take a more detailed look at each walk-on contributor and scholarship player on the Wisconsin Badgers football roster for 2020 in a running feature, our 2020 returnee profiles.
Each weekday we will breakdown one player on the football roster to look back at their recruiting process, their career as a Badger to this juncture and lastly preview their potential contribution to the team in 2020 and beyond.
Up next is Faion Hicks.
Name: Faion Hicks
2020 eligibility: redshirt junior
Recruiting info out of HS: 247 Composite 3-stars, No. 156 cornerback, Pembroke Pines, Fla.
2016 Recruitment: Despite being a strong talent on the field for the Badgers the last few seasons, Hicks was not highly recruited out of high school. His first offer came in 2016 from Western Michigan before picking up additional offers from Iowa State and Georgia State. Shortly after Hicks received offers from Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, and Florida International before picking up an offer from Wisconsin. On October 15th Hicks took an official visit to Wisconsin and committed the following day.
Career statistics: 61 tackles, four passes defended, one interception
2019 statistics: 32 tackles, one pass defended
Player overview: Hicks came to Wisconsin and quickly emerged as a player that could see the field early in his career. Part of that was a very young secondary room, but another part was that his talent seemed to be much greater than what his recruitment showed. Hicks redshirted in 2017 and then started 11 of the Badgers 12 regular season contest in his freshman season.
In 2019, Hicks returned as the started and was an integral part of the Badgers secondary and defense that ranked top five in total defense and top-15 in passing yards allowed. Hicks is a versatile player, lining up at both the outside cornerback position and the nickel position. At 5-foot-10 he has good size for a corner to go along with great speed.
Best case scenario for 2020: Despite a deep cornerback room, Faion Hicks should have one of the starter positions all but wrapped up. Hicks and Williams will man most of the cornerback spots while Rachad Wildgoose will take on the nickel role. Best case scenario for Hicks is that he is able to up his game even further and become a lock down corner on one side of the field.
If Hick’s can continue to progress like he did from year one to year two, he has the chance to be an all-conference type corner. With wide receivers like Rondale Moore, Rashod Bateman, and Nico Collins all on the schedule Hicks will have the opportunity to shut down some talented receivers and prove he can be a top corner in the league.
Likely role on team in 2020: Hicks will likely have the same role he did in 2019. I would expect his game to elevate, and for him to be a strong part of a defense that returns a lot of talent at every level. In 2020 I would also expect Hicks to be more of a play maker and haul in a few more interceptions, something he’s only done once in his career at Wisconsin. If he can do that, and the others in the secondary progress with him, the sky is the limit for the defensive back unit this fall.