Top football recruit in Texas returns to Houston area

David Hicks Jr. is ranked by the main recruiting sites as one of the top high school football players in the entire country, and this year, he'll be coming home to Katy and joining the defending state champion Katy Paetow Panthers. KPRC 2's Ari Alexander has the story.

KATY – Katy Paetow won its first state championship in 2021, lost its head coach, B.J. Gotte, to Pearland High School, and may still be better in 2022 because of one big transfer.

David Hicks, Jr., whose dad David Hicks, Sr. will be the team’s defensive coordinator, will play for the Panthers this year. Hicks, Jr. is considered to be the No. 1 prospect in the state of Texas, the No. 1 defensive line prospect in America, and the No. 4 overall prospect in America. Hicks, Jr. is rated a 5-star defensive lineman with offers from every major college football program in the country.

Hicks was named Texas District 5-6A Defensive MVP as a junior at Allen High School last season and was also named Class 6A first-team all-state by the Texas Sportswriters Association.

He spent the first two of his high school years at Katy Morton Ranch High School and now returns home to join Paetow.

“Being able to be with my friends again and be close to family is a pretty good experience,” Hicks said.

He trains with Kerry Bennett in Katy in the offseason and also works with new Michigan State pass rush coach Brandon Jordan, who was a long-time private trainer to NFL defensive linemen.

Despite having 5-star status, Hicks says he loves the work.

“Sometimes I don’t even notice that I’m that highly ranked,” he said. “I just take it day by day, stay humble and keep working.”

Hicks also says he models his game after NFL superstars Aaron Donald, Myles Garrett and Chase Young and hopes to match the on-field tenacity of Lawrence Taylor.

As for what school he’ll eventually attend at the next level, only time will tell. But for this coming season, Paetow will have the benefit of having David Hicks, Jr. on their defensive line as the Panthers try to defend their state title.


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Murrow and Emmy award-winning sports anchor & reporter. Avid traveler, mediocre golfer. Loves good food, good friends and southern rap.