BYU showing interest in 2013 lineman

BYU showing interest in 2013 lineman

Powerhouse Bingham High School produces many Division I-caliber football players, many of which have attended BYU. On the horizon is another 2013 offensive lineman prospect who, as a sophomore, was invited to the BadgerSports 7-on-7 camp. There, he did very well. Now, the projected Bingham starter for this coming season will look to dominate in the hopes of earning some offers.

Heading into his junior year, Keegan Hicks will be a starting tackle for Coach Dave Peck's offensive line. He is a road grader.

"I'm pushing my way up to 6'3" and weighing in at around 285 pounds," said Hicks. "In the weight room, my bench is 305 pounds and my squat is 455 and my power clean is 245. At Bingham High School, we have a platoon system. None of us go both ways, so I'll be playing right tackle for us this year, but I'm being recruited as an interior offensive lineman, mainly guard and center."

In terms of his style of play, Hicks considers him self one aggressive player that loves punishing whoever is lined up on the other side of him.

"I'm a mean offensive lineman," said Hicks. "That's how I view myself. I'm aggressive and pretty quick for my size, I move really well. I've been coached extremely well and so I have great form and technique, so I've got a little bit of finesse, but I've got great power and love hitting kids and putting them to the ground. That's my game. I love hitting and being physical and putting people on the ground."

As a sophomore player, Hicks received some playing time behind older, more experienced players. His time to shine will be this season.

"Last year, I got a little bit of playing time here and there," said Hicks. "I'll be starting for us over the next two years. We've had a lot a great offensive linemen at Bingham, and so you have to really work your way up into a starting position. Most players don't start until their junior years here."

From spring to summer, Hicks has been busy touring various camps. As one of the top up-and-coming linemen in the state of Utah for the 2013 class, he was invited to the BadgerSports Elite Camp that was held in Las Vegas this past March, and that was just the start.

"This spring I started off with the BadgerSports camp in Las Vegas," he said. "I did really well and it was a good way for me to get my name out there to start things off. We've had a lot of schools that have come by and visited [Bingham] to do some recruiting of our other guys, and they've taken notice of me. I've gone to the Weber State camp, Utah State camp, U of U camp and went to the Colorado camp. I made an unofficial stop at Wyoming on the way home and went to the BYU's camp for sure. Recently, I went to the elite lineman camp run by Haloti Ngata and Ed Mulitalo."

Hicks' camp experiences were very good learning experiences for him.

"Definitely I was coached up a lot at everyone's camps," Hicks said. "I got some very good coaching, especially from BYU, Colorado and Utah's coaching staff. A lot of them said they would be scouting me out this next spring. At BYU, I stay in touch with Coach Weber especially every few weeks. I give him a phone call and talk to him often.

"I talk to him about how practices have been going and about how he's been doing. I ask him about some of my guys, because I'm good friends with some of the players at BYU that played for Bingham High School. We talk a lot about how the team is going to do this year, things like that."

So what does Hicks think about BYU's offensive line coach?

"I think he does an excellent job over there," Hicks said. "He's a great guy and a great coach. He's great at knowing what you need as an offensive lineman and teaching you how to improve in those areas. I mean, there are coaches out there that know a lot about football but have a hard time teaching it to their players, and I think Coach Weber has no problem with that aspect of coaching."

Currently, BYU has two Outland Trophy candidates on the Cougar offensive line: Matt Reynolds and Braden Hansen. Hicks feels this is by no accident, and can be attributed not only to their hard work and athleticism, but also to the ability of Coach Weber to teach and mold great linemen. While Weber coached at UCLA, one of his linemen was awarded the Outland Trophy.

"Well, it doesn't surprise me that this is the case," Hicks said about BYU's two Outland candidates. "Coach Weber knows how to mold great linemen because he not only understands the game and what it takes to be successful as a lineman, but he also knows how to develop your abilities."

As of now, Hicks is receiving interest from BYU, Colorado, Utah, Utah State and Weber State, but isn't ready to name a top three at this point in time.

"I haven't really decided on any top three schools right now," Hicks said. "I'm just working really hard to play at the next level. BYU is one school that I'm heavily considering. They run a great program up there and I'm a LDS kid from a LDS family, so BYU is a place where I could see myself playing at one day."

His LDS affiliation a big reason – though not the only one – why BYU is such an attractive place for him.

"At Bingham High School we run a very strict honor code and BYU is basically the same way," Hicks said. 'BYU, in comparison to some of the other colleges, their players are trying to get somewhere else on top of football, which is important to me. They're not just playing football and living for the moment, they're looking to become successful businessmen and successful family men."

Hicks' plans are to leave straight on a mission right out of high school.

"I'm lucky that I have an early birthday," he said. "My plan is to leave on my mission right out of high school, then come back, work hard and see where it goes from there. I think it would be smart to come back from my mission and have a redshirt year to burn so I can get myself back into football shape, but If I'm asked to go - and I'm ready for it - in my first year, then I'm happy to wait and do that too."

Because he did well in camps, but played sparingly last season behind Bingham High School's experienced offensive linemen, college coaches are waiting to see how he does this season as a starter before pulling the scholarship offer trigger.

"I've been talking to Utah, Colorado and BYU, and basically every coach that I've talked to said that I've looked excellent at their camps, my grades are high and that they like everything about me," Hicks said. "It's just they want to see more of me in varsity playing time. They want to see more film so they can finish their evaluation, so to make that happen I'm going to go out there this year and make play after play after play. I'm a team captain for Bingham High School's football team, so I'm going to go lead my guys. I talk to BYU quite a bit and they just want to see some varsity time, so this year I want to show everyone what I can do out on the field to put together a great highlight video. I also want to help my team go out and win another state championship this year again."

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