CJ Hicks, a 5-star freshman linebacker, is already receiving praise from Ohio State head coach Ryan Day.

With fall camp opening Thursday, Day says that Hicks looked more like a veteran linebacker than a true freshman. High praise coming from the head coach.

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“It almost looks like he’s one of the guys that’s been around for a while … you don’t think of him as a freshman anymore,” said Day. “At least we don’t.”

The sought-after 6-foot-3 and 215 lb. freshman from Dayton, Ohio chose the Buckeyes over Alabama last year. National recruiting analyst Allen Trieu of 24/7 Sports said this at the time about CJ Hicks and his ability:

“Long defender who added good weight between his sophomore and junior seasons. Is growing more towards a true linebacker, but still shows the athleticism to play all over the field including out in space and even returned punts and played running back still at his size. Excellent blitzer who has explosive ability to shoot gaps or come off the edge. Additional strength was noticeable on his senior film. Ball skills are good, which he shows on offense and he should be a great coverage linebacker at the next level. Physically, he has it all. Next steps on his game will be to keep adding the weight and strength he already has, and continue to work on diagnosing offenses. But a high-level prospect who fits well in today’s defenses because he never has to come off the field and can line up in multiple spots.”

Sounds like Hicks is already living up to expectations, at least at the beginning of fall camp.