Hicks competed in one of the first events scheduled in the opening day of the state track meet, winning the Class AA state championship in the discus with a throw of 155 feet. That provided DeLoach his goal when his group started in the Class A competition.
“Right before I got here, I heard he threw like a 155, so I tried to beat him,” DeLoach said. “… I was like, ‘I’ve got to get you.’ ”
DeLoach was successful in his attempt, beating Hicks’ best throw by a single foot with a first-place toss of 156 feet to also take first place.
“That’s what I’m talking about,” Hicks said with a laugh when informed that DeLoach also won and beat his throw by 12 whole inches.
Hicks also finished second in the Class AA shot put, just behind Pepperell’s Dakota Ball, an Alabama football signee.
Hicks and DeLoach are already fast friends and plan to room together at Georgia along with Jonathan Taylor -- DeLoach’s Jenkins County teammate -- and Jordan Jenkins.
“Me and him, we’re real tight,” DeLoach said of Hicks. “When we went on our official visit, that’s when I met him. We got real close.”
Hicks, DeLoach and Taylor were among four UGA football signees who competed Thursday in the state track meet -- defensive lineman John Atkins also competed and finished sixth in the Class AAA shot put -- while receiver Blake Tibbs will compete with his Martin Luther King 4x400 relay team in Friday evening’s Class AAAAA races.
The group provided a few updates on their preparations before entering college this summer:
* Atkins said he is still a point away from a qualifying ACT score before he can enroll at Georgia. Many of the freshman signees arrive on June 4 to begin taking classes, but Atkins expects to take a bit longer.
“First I’ve got to get my ACT and SAT test score,” he said. “I take that in June, so I’ll probably get down there like late June, early July.”
* Taylor said he expects to start his career at defensive end, although nose guard could still be a possibility. Atkins plans to play nose and realizes a redshirt is possible -- maybe even likely -- because of the experienced players ahead of him on the depth chart, namely senior John Jenkins and junior Kwame Geathers. DeLoach expects to play outside linebacker and thinks weakside linebacker might be the best fit because of his strengths as a pass rusher.
* Hicks played multiple positions in high school, but is focusing solely on his fullback skills now in hopes of contributing at the position as a true freshman.
“Right now I’m working on versatility: catching the ball, blocking, being able on those third-and-1s, being able to get that first down, helping the running back push or the quarterback on a quarterback sneak,” Hicks said. “I think I’ve got a lot of strengths and I’ve got a lot of weaknesses I’m working on right now, so I guess you’ll see it in the fall.”
Above all else, Hicks knows his consistency as a blocker will be a deciding factor in whether he plays right away.
“With our offense, we have a handful of great running backs, so my thing is blocking now,” Hicks said. “I know they’re going to get the job done and the offensive line, I think they’re going to get the job done. And Aaron Murray I think is probably going to have a great year this year. Pass blocking, too, is a big thing, so blocking in general is a pretty big thing.”