On Saturday, near Meridian Avenue in Fort Collins, Colo., Colorado State broke ground on the site where its $220 million stadium will open in 2017.
A day later, the Rams laid the foundation for the future of their defensive backfield.
Three-star Jamal Hicks, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound safety from Narbonne high school in Harbor City, Calif., announced his commitment to Colorado State on Sunday afternoon while still on his official visit to the school.
Hicks also had offers from Hawaii, Nevada and UNLV.
Coming from Gardena, Calif., Hicks said the small town feel of Fort Collins instantly made him feel at home.
"You know how you see something and you just feel like you’re at home?" Hicks pondered. "That’s what I felt right when I touched down. All the coaches felt like family for me already."
Hicks and Narbonne defeated Palos Verdes 45-14 on Friday night. The next morning, Hicks headed off to Colorado State for his official visit. When he touched down, a representative from Colorado State was there to meet him. But there was a slight problem.
"I couldn't find him for like 30 minutes," Hicks said laughing.
Hicks was taken straight to Colorado State's home game against Minnesota. In the first quarter, he saw the Rams' secondary hold Golden Gophers quarterback Mitch Lender to a 1-of-7 passing start. The early defensive showing was more than enough to get the hard-nosed safety excited from the stands.
"I wanted to suit up and play for them right then and there," Hicks said. "I was ready to play."
Minnesota went on to beat Colorado State 23-20 in overtime, but Hicks came away impressed.
"Their defense is great," Hicks said. "They held it down for a minute. They just needed to fix some little mistakes."
After the game, Hicks met with the team, including junior defensive back Tyree Simmons who Hicks grew up with in Gardena. He also talked with cornerbacks coach Terry Fair and speed and conditioning coach Ryan Davis for an extended period of time. Talking with the two coaches sealed Hicks decision to commit to Colorado State – the place he was leaning to committing to before he even made the trip.
"They were telling me some real stuff and I really believe what they said," Hicks said. "They sealed the deal for me."
But back in Hicks' hotel room, Colorado State put the icing on the cake of Hicks' decision – literally. Waiting in the room was a pizookie – a oven-cooked warm cookie with ice cream on top from BJ's Restaurant – with "Go Rams!" written on it.
"It was huge!" Hicks said. "It was awesome."
About 10 minutes after committing, Hicks said that he really felt like he made the right decision, choosing to go to Colorado State. He sees where the program is going, with a new stadium on the way and a talented roster already in the building, and he wants to be a part of it.
"I feel like I made a great decision," Hicks said. "I can see the big picture."