Zelus Hicks

Zelus Hicks is Next Great Peach State Safety

CARROLLTON, Ga. — Ohio State has been involved in several memorable recruiting battles involving safety prospects from the state of Georgia. The next one to likely join that list is Carrollton product Zelus Hicks. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound prospect is tracking as the Peach State’s next elite safety prospect.

Hicks has already been to Ohio State a few times and plans to return again over the summer. Why does Hicks keep making the trip up from Georgia to check out the Buckeyes?

“Me and my dad like them,” Hicks told BuckeyeHuddle.com this week on our Southern Swing recruiting tour. “My whole family likes them. We like the coaching staff and Ohio State is a top contender.”

Most recently, Hicks was able to visit Ohio State for a spring practice and it gave him a different perspective on things than his previous visits.

“I got to talk to the coaches more,” he explained. “Coach Tim (Walton), coach (Matt) Guerrieri, we were able to sit down and I got a feel for the town.”

Tim Walton has put together some impressive recruiting classes for the Buckeyes the last couple of cycles and is set to take some big swings in the 2026 recruiting class. Hicks has been impressed with his interactions with Walton so far.

“The main thing that makes him so successful is his wisdom,” Hicks said. “He’s got a lot of knowledge of the game. He can give you so much of the game and that’s the biggest thing for him.”

Hicks is the type of multi-dimensional safety prospect that the Buckeyes have in Caleb Downs. When Downs transferred from Alabama this off-season it sent waves through the college football world but it also sent a jolt through the high school football recruiting world as well, especially with prospects from the Southeast like Hicks.

“I was actually shocked,” Hicks said. “But then, as I thought about it more, I wasn’t shocked. It’s a great program and he’s the best safety and wants to get coached by the best.”

Being able to attract top southern stars like Downs is something that Hicks says makes players like himself more inclined to give Ohio State a look.

“It definitely helps them,” Hicks explained. “Because as I was saying, he was the best rated safety in college football as a freshman and he could have picked anywhere to go. His coach (Travaris Robinson) actually went to Georgia and he decided to go to Ohio State which means he thinks Ohio State is a better program than Georgia. That’s heavy.”

Hear more from the elite safety prospect in our one-on-one interview from Southern Swing as he talks more about the Buckeyes, the schools recruiting him the hardest, and more.

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