There’s a slight case of déjà vu surrounding the Baldwin High School football program this summer.
It’s another year, another Braves defensive back being highly recruited by multiple notable colleges. Last year it was Javon Bullard, who eventually committed, signed and early enrolled at the University of Georgia.
This year it’s Dexter Ricks Jr.’s turn. The 6-1, 175-pound rising senior already had five scholarship offers in hand as of Tuesday morning, but that number figures to increase weekly leading up to the 2021 season.
“It’ll get up between 20 and 25,” Baldwin head football coach Jesse Hicks said. “That’ll happen in the next couple of weeks.”
Western Kentucky, Furman, Liberty University, Georgia Southern and Georgia State have all extended offers to Ricks Jr., who goes by DJ. He’s spoken to coaches from at least five other programs, including one SEC school, who have yet to make an official offer, but could pull the trigger at any moment depending on how the recruiting season flows.
“The hard work I’ve been putting in is paying off,” the college recruit said on what all the attention means to him. “I’m just going to continue to work hard.”
For Ricks, talking with coaches turned into action last weekend when he made his first official visit to Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. The Hilltoppers were the first to extend an offer in late March. Ricks came away with a positive impression of the city he described as “a bigger Milledgeville.” He’s in no rush to make his college decision though. More campus visits are already lined up for Georgia Southern and Liberty University with more likely on the horizon. Ricks shared he’s looking for somewhere with a great campus atmosphere that he could see himself attending even if he did not play football. That advice came from his high school head coach who had a few other positive things to say about his senior.
“Guys like him and Javon are what make football easy for coaches,” Hicks said. “One of the things I love about him is he’s not afraid to correct his teammates. You can’t be there as a coach all the time, so you need a guy who’s not just an example, but isn’t afraid to correct a teammate when they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing. I think that’s huge.”
Ricks’ size is one thing that makes the Class of 2022 senior such an attractive prospect. Football is becoming more and more of a pass-heavy game, so long, rangy corners are needed to combat big wide receivers on those deep 50-50 balls. Ricks has also shown he can be a nuisance on special teams having blocked multiple extra points/field goals for the Braves last season. But there’s another measurable that has college coaches wanting to get him on the phone. Ricks totes a 3.6 grade point average while attending the Baldwin County School District’s Georgia College Early College program where he is also dual enrolled at Georgia College and Georgia Military College. He plans on graduating from high school with his associate’s degree already in hand. Ricks said his ability to keep his nose in the books has been something multiple college coaches have commented on during his recruiting calls.
“They like my GPA. It shows that I’m going to get my school work done. A lot of them like that I’m a dual-sport athlete since I run track as well. That’s a big plus.”
Ricks doesn’t just run track, he excels at it. He was the Region 4-4A boys high-point winner this spring and went on to state where he competed in both hurdle events, the long jump and the high jump. Ricks finished as state runner-up in the 110 hurdles and got onto the podium two other times while down in Albany.
When it comes to Ricks’ recruiting podium, there are no frontrunners as of yet. It’s still fairly early on in the process for him, so he’s using his time to gather information and ride the recruiting wave.