Lakota West's Hicks wins Butkus Award

The Lakota West High senior outside linebacker was given the Butkus Award — which honors the nation’s top high school linebacker — on Wednesday morning, Dec. 9, at West.

And he was handed the Butkus Award trophy by NFL legend Dick Butkus himself.

“It’s great,” Hicks said. “I was surprised, which made it even better. It feels good to be noticed like this. I’ve been working for it for a long time, and it’s finally coming.”

Hicks indeed was surprised.

He was told he had to conduct an interview, and during the interview, he was informed that Jeff Luc — another finalist from Port St. Lucie, Fla. — had won the award, which is in its second year.

Then in walked Butkus, who all along had been watching Hicks from an adjacent room.

“The kid’s got to be the best guy on the field and got to be one of the best off the field, and that’s what Jordan is,” Butkus said. “It’s unbelievable the more we find out about him. Listening to his teammates talk, and his coaches, teachers, instructors, this guy’s the real deal.”

This past season, Hicks (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) registered 95 total tackles (13 for loss), three sacks and two interceptions.

He’s been named the co-Player of the Year in the Greater Miami Conference, Division I co-Defensive Player of the Year in the state and the Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year.

“I like the way he hits,” Butkus said. “He really hits people. I’m surprised. He’s kind of lanky, so he’s going to be able to fill out. He’s going to be a stud and keep his speed.”

The selection committee was made up of 51 people, which included NFL general managers, pro scouts, college scouts and college recruiters.

“It’s just an honor,” Hicks said. “I feel really blessed to get all this, and meet the people that I do and get the notoriety that I do. I wouldn’t be able to do it without any of my teammates or any of my coaches.”

Hicks is scheduled to take an official visit to Florida this weekend. He’s already taken official visits to Ohio State and Texas.

“I’m ready to move on to the next step in my recruiting process,” Hicks said.

That next step, he said, is “hopefully making a decision soon,” which could come at the end of this month or in early January.

Asked if Alabama and USC are still in the mix, Hicks said: “Alabama still is. USC, I’m not sure.”

Contact this reporter at (513) 755-5113 or smatthews@coxohio.com.

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