When the NFL season kicks off in September, the Turks and Caicos Islands will definitely be represented, thanks to Faion Hicks, a young man with roots in South Caicos and North Caicos, who was drafted by the Denver Broncos.
Hicks 23, according to local sports movers and shakers, has created history with his draft, being the first Turks and Caicos Islander to make it to the NFL.
According to Alvin Parker, Deputy Director of the Turks and Caicos Islands Sports Commission, and Trevor Cooke, Secretary-General for the Turks and Caicos Islands Basketball Federation, Turks and Caicos Islanders in the past have gained football scholarships to Colleges in the United States but did not make it to the NFL.
In an exclusive interview with NewslineTCI, the rookie explained that he had dreamt about being drafted in the NFL from childhood days.
“…So it is a big moment for me. My family supported me all the way, and for them to see that moment it is amazing,” an enthusiastic Hicks explained.
A nervous and forever wait, was how the seventh-round pick, described waiting to hear whether he would be drafted.
“It was kind of stressful as the time was going down and the draft was being ended. And so, when I got the call, it was a big relief off my shoulders,” he further explained.
Hicks made clear he never had a particular team in mind to play for, since it would be a blessing for him just to be drafted.
“I never had a team in mind that I wanted to play for, like I said, it was an honour to play for any team in the NFL, because it was so hard to make it, and so, I was honoured to play for anyone,” he said.
Hicks, who grew up in Miami, Florida, was first introduced to football while attending the Charles W. Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines, where he won his first state championship.
“That was a big moment in my high school career,” he said.
At the University of Wisconsin, from which he graduated with his degree, Hicks said he stepped up his game, and was now happy that it has paid off for him in a big way.
Preparing for the NFL draft was overly hectic for the Broncos rookie. His day began at 5a.m.
Following breakfast, he would spend at least three hours on the field in hard training, working on speed and agility. He would get a late morning break for a few hours, before hitting the gym for weight training, before working on his recovery. He then ended the day with pilates.
“I do about three workouts (for the day), and I would probably be done about 8 o’clock (PM). So, it is really a hard day’s process,” Hicks stated.
For the Broncos, Hicks would play cornerback, a position into which he has cemented himself.
“When I was younger, I really played running back at first, and as I got to high school, I was playing both offense and defense. But when I started college that was when I started to play cornerback,” he further explained.
For his rookie year, the agile player has his sights firmly set on what he wants to achieve.
“For my first year, I really want to go out there and help the team. Obviously, I want to do big things, but I do understand that being a rookie, I have to solidify myself first. And that is all I am looking for in my first year…just to solidify myself, help-out my team, and let the coaches and the rest of the NFL know that I belong there,” he emphasized.
Hicks revealed that his family support system, led by his mom Schevette Glinton, has been incredible. He said in addition to ensuring that he was comfortable and grounded, Glinton, attended as many of his college games as possible,
“She was really the athlete in the family. She keeps me focused; she keeps me out of trouble. She is the reason I am at where I am at,” he said.
For the young man, it means a lot to have descended from these islands and knowing that when he takes the field he does so as an ambassador for this archipelago.
“I am so happy to represent such an amazing country. I know how important it is for someone like me to represent such an amazing place. I am honoured,” Hicks further noted, also having a word of advice for the country’s youth.
“I want to let all the young kids there know that you can do whatever you put your mind to,” he said.
In the meantime, Glinton, who was born in South Caicos, and later migrated to Miami, Florida, where she grew up, said the journey with her son was nothing short of phenomenal.
“I got the chance to travel to different states that I have never been to, and just to be in that college stadium where he is playing is an awesome experience. The college experience is an experience that I truly going to miss. I absolutely going to make it out to some games because I just love it so much. The energy in the college stadium is like crazy,” she beamed.
She added: “We, as a family, are very, very proud of him, because not only did he make it to the NFL, but he was also able to complete his college career and was able to get his degree.
“And to be able to know that he would be able to contribute something to the (Turks and Caicos) Islands, that’s a proud moment for my mom and our family,” Glinton said.
Hicks, meanwhile, said he was already looking at the possibility of hosting a football training camp in the Turks and Caicos for aspiring youth.
“I am thinking that one day I might do a football camp out there, because a lot of people are telling me that football is not a big thing there. So, I definitely want to make that happen,” Hicks said.