- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
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Throughout the summer, Nole Nation will be counting down the 40 players we're projecting to make the biggest impact on the Seminoles' 2013 season, taking into consideration everything from experience to potential to their spot on the current depth chart.
Next up: No. 23 Dan Hicks
Position/Class: DE/Redshirt senior.
What he's done: Hicks turned in two solid seasons as a reserve defensive end in 2010 and 2011, backing up Brandon Jenkins and tallying 34 tackles (7.5 for a loss) and two sacks. But with FSU enjoying an abundance of pass rushers and a crunch at tight end, Hicks was moved to offense before the 2012 season. Whether the move would've been a positive for Hicks remains a mystery. He tore his ACL in fall camp and missed the season, and by the time spring practice arrived in 2013, he was back at his old position.
Where he's at: The return to defensive end for Hicks makes a lot of sense. FSU lost three veteran ends to the NFL this offseason, and Hicks brings a level of experience that the rest of the group lacks. Still, he wasn't immediately pegged for a starting job. It took a stellar performance during spring practice to turn heads, but by the time FSU wrapped up its annual Garnet and Gold Game, the senior appeared safely in position to win a spot atop the depth chart.
What's to come: Hicks has more experience than any of his colleagues at defensive end, but even he's new to the system being put in place by Jeremy Pruitt and Sal Sunseri. Still, no one appeared to grasp the scheme quicker this spring than Hicks, and after a star-crossed four years in Tallahassee, he was clearly eager to make up for lost time. His size and strength should make him a capable replacement for the departed Jenkins, and even if he shares reps with Giorgio Newberry or Chris Casher, Hicks figures to post career highs across the board and potentially develop into one of the better pass rushers in the conference.
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