Akiem Hicks is entering his sophomore year in black and gold after an impressive rookie season.
The New Orleans Saints' third round draft choice (89th overall) in the 2012 draft will use his size and strength to contribute to the defensive rotation and compete for playing time this upcoming season.
The 6-foot-5, 324-pound defensive tackle appeared in 14 games and recorded 32 tackles, one pass defense and one forced fumble in 2012. He recorded a season high of eight tackles (five solo) vs. Kansas City on Sept. 23. His most extensive action of the season was at Denver on Oct. 28, recording six tackles (four solo) and one forced fumble.
Assistant head coach Joe Vitt on Akiem Hicks (Dec. 13, 2012):
"I don't want to say he's played beyond our expectations. We expected this of him. I think that people that looked funny at us when we drafted him aren't looking funny at us anymore. He has earned the right and respect of his peers."