FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.- A big favorite has emerged in the race for Rivals100 outside linebacker Brandon Hicks' services. The Jacksonville (Fla.) Forrest gave an exclusive interview to Rivals.com after arriving for the inaugural Offense-Defense All-American Bowl on Saturday.
"Right now, Florida is pretty high on my list," Hicks said. "Florida is over Miami right now. I am supposed to take an official visit to Miami on Jan. 26, but we'll see what happens.
There are several aspects of the Gators program that Hicks likes.
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"It's not that far away from home," he said. "It's really kind of close, actually. Most of the players there, I talked to them before. Some of the guys that play there played in Jacksonville like Jamar Hornsby and Tim Tebow.
"All of the guys are good, but they are pretty down to Earth."
Florida co-defensive coordinator Charlie Strong also has a lot to do with why the Gators are in such good shape.
"(Coach Strong) showed me how they use their "Sam" linebackers," Hicks said. "And it's almost exactly like the system we run at Forrest. It's something I can fit in."
Hicks added that he has great respect for Strong.
"He's the type of coach that will push you to your limit," Hicks said.
Hicks also is scheduled to visit Clemson on the weekend of Jan. 12 and said that he would take that visit.
As for the game, he's excited about participating.
"So far, everybody that's checking in is looking pretty good," Hicks said. "It's an interesting experience, to see where everybody's going."
Hicks is the nation's No. 85 overall prospect and is the nation's fifth-ranked outside linebacker, according to Rivals.com.