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Northwestern set to tab Utah State’s LaMarcus Hicks as new cornerbacks coach

The former Detroit Lion is the latest member of a revamped defensive coaching staff.

Utah State Athletics

After a week where Northwestern’s coaching staff was left with two holes, Pat Fitzgerald seems to have refilled one of them.

Following the departure of Ryan Smith, who took a cornerbacks coach job with the Arizona Cardinals on Feb. 22, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported that Northwestern will hire Utah State’s LaMarcus Hicks as its new CBs coach for the 2023 season.

The former Utah State coach will look to revitalize a Northwestern secondary that is set to lose a few of its key players in 2023, including starters Cameron Mitchell and A.J. Hampton. Now, Fitzgerald has only one vacant spot on his coaching staff, which former running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Lou Ayeni opened on Feb. 27 when he joined Smith in the NFL ranks as a running backs coach for the Denver Broncos.

Hicks has served in the same position at Utah State for one season. Under his watch, the Aggies secondary held opponents to -0.08 estimated points added per pass play, which ranked 39th in the country. It elevated the defense as a whole, whose EPA ranked 71st in the FBS in 2022.

Hicks played in the NFL for the Detroit Lions from 2007 to 2008 as a defensive back. He played in 12 games across those two seasons after spending his collegiate career at Iowa State.

As Thamel noted, Hicks has coached at Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green State, Jackson and North Texas prior to his time in Logan, Utah. He coached EMU’s cornerbacks from 2020 to 2021, contributing to a 2020 red zone defense that ranked seventh in the nation in 2020. He also served as the defensive recruiting coordinator during his time at Eastern Michigan.

Hicks spent the previous two seasons as a secondary coach for Bowling Green State, and evenly split the four seasons before that as a defensive backs coach at Jackson State (2016-17) and North Texas (2014-15).