Date: April 26, 2009
About: Lamor Hickman - Class of 2008
Ex-QHS Star Climbing WIU Football Depth Chart
MACOMB, Ill. -- Lamor Hickman doesn't want to read too much into the fact he'll be running with the first-team offense during the Western Illinois University football team's annual spring game Saturday.
But it sends a clear message.
Keep doing what you're doing.
"I knew I would work hard," said Hickman, a redshirt freshman running back from Quincy High School who walked on at WIU last fall. "It was my job to show the coaches I was going to work hard."
Not listed on the Leathernecks' depth chart when spring practice began, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Hickman elevated himself to the No. 2 spot by displaying toughness and elusiveness as a runner and determination as a pass blocker.
"He has opened our eyes," WIU offensive coordinator Mark Hendrickson said. "He's got some natural ability to find a crease, get through the line and pick up yards. He's definitely impressed us by being tough."
Hickman's been durable, too.
Dre Gibbs, a senior who rushed for 573 yards and five touchdowns backing up All-American tailback Herb Donaldson last year, has been the No. 1 tailback throughout the spring. However, the coaches are sitting Gibbs out of the 1 p.m. game at Hanson Field to avoid injury.
There's no such worries with Hickman.
"Last fall as a member of the scout team, he never missed a practice and got beat on every day by our defense," Hendrickson said. "At this level, you have to be physically tough. He definitely is that."
Running scout team did more than showcase Hickman's toughness.
"It helped me learn the speed of the game," he said.
He's up to speed now.
In the first two spring scrimmages, Hickman rushed for 47 yards on 18 carries, getting the most carries of any back. However, it was a pass play in the second scrimmage that left the most lasting impression.
Hickman caught a screen pass and looked as though he would be hit for no gain or possibly a loss of yards. However, he sidestepped the would-be tackler and motored downfield for a 25-yard gain.
"Based on him being determined to not let the first guy take him down, we get a first down and better field position," Hendrickson said. "That's a big play."
Still, Hickman knows there will be bigger ones.
"I need to run a little harder, read my line better and just be a coachable player," Hickman said. "I want to show I can play as a team player and fit into the scheme."
He's been a good fit so far.