THE GRIND: Lambert Football's Rising Star Defensive back Kenneth Dicks III
Kenneth Dicks III wasn’t surprised. How could he be?
It was only the natural result, in his mind, from all the work he had done with his father, a former college football player who now works as an athletic performance coach.
Dicks has focused on football for most of his sports-playing life, working to improve his speed and agility with sprints and cone drills as far back as elementary school. He honed in on the defensive back position as a junior at Lambert, seeing the match between his physical tools and what the position demanded at the college and professional level.
May 7 might have been the turning point. Dicks took to The Opening skills camp in Charlotte, joining the top athletes from Forsyth County and across the southeast, and registered a Nike Football Rating of 139.80, the best of the day and second-best in the entire country. His 40-yard dash, vertical leap, shuttle run and power ball throw ranked in the 99th percentile of athletes tested.
Dicks had received a number of college offers before that day, but they were mainly from mid-majors and FCS programs – Colorado State, Buffalo, Cornell and Columbia, among others.
But after it became clear that he was an especially rare physical talent, Dicks’ offers gained a pronounced Power Five flavor, with programs like Louisville, Syracuse and Maryland jumping in.
“They didn't expect it, especially (from) somebody that was under the radar for so long,” Dicks said of his performance at The Opening. “For coaches to finally hear about this athlete that just came out the woodwork was pretty exciting for them.”
Dicks doesn’t yet have a list of frontrunners, and he said he won’t be committing until part of the way through the season. Much of his summer will be dedicated to taking visits.
And of course, Dicks will keep trying to get bigger, stronger and faster. He’s particularly large for a cornerback, at 6-foot and 200 pounds, and he hopes to get to 210 this fall to get “that overall college look.”
The physicality, Dicks said, is what has drawn many college coaches to him. He’s shown the requisite ball-hawking abilities, tying for the team lead with five interceptions last year, but much of Dicks’ film shows a bruising defender, one who will eagerly come down to help on run plays and who will fight through blocks – or just push the blocker towards the play.
“With the new age of football, you have to be physical, with the receivers getting bigger and stronger,” Dicks said. “Cornerbacks have to do the same thing.”
Coaches at the next level seem to be taking notice of Dicks, whether from his performance from last fall or his head-turning day in early May. The plan is paying off.
“With all the hard work that me and my dad put in, there was no other expectation,” Dicks said.