Hicks earned a starting nod as a true freshman and made an early splash for the Tar Heels. He caught 39 passes for 660 yards and four scores in 2006. As a sophomore he earned All ACC honors after hauling in 74 passes for 958 yards and five touchdowns. Nicks again improved his numbers and again was named to the All ACC 1st team after catching 68 passes for 1,222 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior last year.
Nicks is a receiver that can do a bit of everything. He is built well for a receiver and is physical. He will cross the middle of the field to grab the football and take a hit in the process. Nicks has excellent hands and will catch anything in his vicinity. He is also a good athlete with excellent body control. That allows him to go up and get the football in the air and make the spectacular catch with ease. Nicks also has good enough speed to get down the field vertically and spread the defense. His combination of athleticism and strength make him tough to tackle, and allow him to pick up yardage after the catch.
There is no true amazing quality about Nicks physically. He is built well, but has only decent height. His speed does not jump out at you, although he is not slow by any means. He can get open, but he doesn’t possess standout quickness.
Hakeem Nicks is an excellent wide receiver prospect despite not being as physically gifted as others. He is solid across the board but lacks the size of a Crabtree or Britt, and the speed of a Maclin or Harvin. He is a better all around receiver that most receivers and his hands and toughness will make him a productive NFL player. He had a solid showing at the combine, and solidified his stock as a borderline first rounder. He may slide into the second but he shouldn’t be around very long if he does.