On Sept. 22 redshirt freshman D’Andre Hicks rushed for 150 yards on just 11 carries, averaging 13.6 yards per carry. He added a 73-yard run for a touchdown as well during the game. That run was the first touchdown of what should be many for the running back. What makes this performance even more impressive was that it was just the second game Hicks appeared in at running back in his football career.
This was also the second time in a row that App State had two players rush for over 200 yards at home. Only three other times in App State history has a player rushed for at least 150 yards on less carries than Hicks. Armanti Edwards, an App State great, was the last player to accomplish the feat.
Hicks is from Punta Gorda, Florida, where he played cornerback and quarterback at Charlotte High School. He threw for 1,219 yards with 12 touchdowns, and ran for over 500 yards with eight touchdowns at QB as a senior. At defensive back he had eight interceptions and over 100 tackles. The Mountaineers originally recruited him to play corner and he redshirted at the position as a true freshman in 2017. Injuries suffered during the spring caused the team to move him to running back.
“He played quarterback in high school so we knew he was athletic and good with the ball in his hands. We had a couple injuries and moved him over. We had to evaluate the roster and felt that he could do it and he’s done well,” running backs coach Stu Holt said.
Hicks learns as he goes at the running back position. But, the fruits of his labor have been apparent in his in-game performances.
“He’s kind of been learning on the run, it was very beneficial to him to get some reps in the spring and let him transition through the summer,” Holt said.
“My transition has been good, the room has helped me out and welcomed me in,” Hicks said of his transition to the position.
Fellow running backs, Darrynton Evans, Jalin Moore, and Marcus Williams Jr, have all helped Hicks learn his new position.
“We got a little bit of speed and power. So in the hole I get power advice, with the speed I get speed advice. The whole entire room has helped me out,” Hicks said when explaining how the other running backs had helped him out as he picked up the position.
Hicks also contributed his own set of talents to a talented running back group.
“He adds a change of pace. His skill set is that he has quick feet and he’s explosive and hard to wrap up. So whenever he comes into the game it’s a benefit to us,” Holt said when asked what specifically Hicks brings to the table on the field.
Hicks said he believes his experience at quarterback and corner in high school helped him at running back.
“From quarterback learning the offense, running backs have to do everything from pass blocking and receiving. And from defensive back just knowing what the defense is thinking and what not.” Hicks said.
After redshirting his freshman year, Hicks said he was happy return to the field and contribute.
“It’s felt good, redshirting freshman year and then this year having some success. The blocking was great, everything was great and it was fun,” Hicks said of his 150-yard performance.
Hicks leads the running backs in yards per carry, averaging 8.5 yards, but he’s not concerned with that fact.
“Of course we’re going to compete for the top spot, but it just shows our hard work and I’m just going to try and keep it up,” Hicks said.
In the win against South Alabama, he rushed five times for 22 yards and helped the team run for 348 yards as a whole. He has been a key part of the team averaging 269.5 yards rushing per game, which is seventh in the nation. He’s also been a part of the running backs that as a unit have averaged 6.5 yards per carry.
The Mountaineers are riding a three-game win streak and will play conference foe Arkansas State in Jonesboro Oct. 9. Hicks will play a key piece in the game as Arkansas State has been giving up 244.4 rushing yards per game. Going forward, Hicks should contribute to the Mountaineers’ rushing attack for the rest of the season.
Story By: Gage Haga, Sports Reporter
Photos By: Lynette Files, Staff Photographer