TCPalm Super 11: Linebacker Davon Hicks out to cement his legacy at Vero Beach

Jon Santucci
Treasure Coast Newspapers

TCPalm is announcing its annual Super 11, the list of the top recruited senior football players on the Treasure Coast. TCPalm is counting down from No. 11 to No. 1, with two players announced per week. The No. 1 player will be revealed on Sunday, July 26.

VERO BEACH — Davon Hicks has wrapped up his recruiting. 

Now he's focused on his legacy. 

The Vero Beach senior linebacker, who verbally committed to USF in February, wants to go down as one of the greatest players in Fighting Indians history.

"I still feel like I'm not one of the top players," Hicks said. "I want to be the No. 1. I want to be remembered after I'm gone. I want it to be that when kids say Vero Beach football, they say Davon Hicks. I want them to say, ‘I want to be like Davon Hicks when I’m older.'"

If last year was any indication, Hicks will leave a lasting impression. 

The 6-foot, 200-pounder emerged as one of the Treasure Coast's top defenders in 2019. He recorded 86 tackles and intercepted four passes, which earned him a spot on the All-Area first team and all-state second team. 

Hicks was at his best in the biggest games, including his double-digit tackle performance eventual Class 3A state champion Chaminade-Madonna.

"He’s the quarterback of the defense," Vero Beach coach Lenny Jankowski said. "He’s got tremendous football savvy. He’s got toughness. He’s got instincts. He’s got athleticism. He’s logged a lot of game minutes. That experience and that big game experience, he brings all that to the table.

"When I watch him play and zero in on him, he’s always going to jump out. He’s a big hitter, but he’s a smart player as well. He was a starter as a sophomore and he had a ton of tackles, but he was just a guy that was doing his part. Last year, he developed into the leader of the defense."

More Super 11

No. 6:Treasure Coast TE/FB Keegan Davis

No. 7:John Carroll Catholic QB Jay Allen

No. 8:Treasure Coast OL Marquez Bargman

No. 9:Fort Pierce Westwood DE/OLB James Gardner Jr.

No. 10:St. Lucie West Centennial CB Henry Pickens

No. 11:Treasure Coast QB/ATH Turk Watkins

Hicks has the attributes colleges covet, but his recruitment progressed slower than he expected. He was stressed and couldn't understand why he wasn't getting more offers early in the process.  

"It was just frustrating because I felt like I was one of the top athletes on the Treasure Coast, and I still feel like I'm one of the top athletes on the Treasure Coast," Hicks said. "I saw other people get offers and I wondered what they have that I don’t have."

Things eventually picked up for Hicks. He now has more than a dozen offers, including Iowa State, FAU, Western Michigan and Cincinnati. 

Hicks verbally committed to USF after an unofficial visit. He was the first area player in the Class of 2021 to make his college decision. 

"I love the coaching staff," Hicks said. "I love where (USF defensive coordinator) coach (Glenn) Spencer’s got me playing and how he’ll use me when I get there, and I think I’ll benefit coming in as a true freshman."

Jankowski said not having to think about recruiting should allow Hicks to focus on his senior season. 

"I think when kids have it zeroed in, it makes a difference," Jankowski said. "He's focused. He’s got all his ducks in a row. When you do have that, you can now zero in on being the best high school player you can be."

Davon Hicks

Vero Beach LB

TCPalm Super 11 rank: 5

Height, weight: 6-foot, 200 pounds

2019 stats/honors: 86 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, TCPalm All-Area first-team selection, FloridaHSFootball Class 8A all-state second team 

Verbal commitment: USF