In April, Piqua (Ohio) defensive lineman Lance Reaves-Hicks spoke with First Star Football Report about academics being as important as football when the time came to make the call on where he’d continue his academic and athletic career.
Past Story: Academics as Important as Football
The 6-foot-285-pound prospect saw massive interest from several Mid-American Conference programs, the University of Cincinnati, and high academic programs like Penn, Harvard, and Princeton.
Without hesitation, Reaves-Hicks said he’d have no problem walking away from BCS football if the right fit came from an academic power.
Wednesday, he showed everyone he was true to his word with a pledge to continue his academic and athletic career in the Ivy League at Princeton.
“I had a lot of big offers,” said Reaves-Hicks. “But I want to be the man I want to be regardless of the situation. So the Ivy League was for me.”
Did the process get stressful with the coronavirus shutting down spring evaluations and summer camps?
“It was pretty stressful,” he said. “I received a lot of different offers with a lot of coaches texting me every day. I’m sure it was a lot more than usual because coaches had more time on their hands.
“It was kind of stressful, as many in my family were trying to swing me in different ways. But I stayed focused and thought about what I wanted from my education and college experience overall. In the end, I felt Princeton would provide all those things.”
Having visited both Harvard and Princeton with his family in July, Reaves-Hicks explained how Princeton became his choice.
“It was the people,” he stressed. “The campus and the people overall. I felt that Princeton was interested in me as a football player and as a person with an overall goal of connecting me with people who will help develop me as a man. That was big for me.”
Another factor in his decision came from watching how the world was reacting to the coronavirus’s problems.
“We’ve seen how quickly things got taken away,” he said. “I’m in a good position where I have a chance to play high school football this year. But we’ve seen because of the coronavirus; an injury can end your football career. A degree from an Ivy League school can help set you up for life. Many people lost their jobs, and that also played a significant role in my decision.”
In Week One of the season, Reaves-Hicks also saw a significant accomplishment as Piqua beat rival Troy for the first time in his high school career.
“Since my freshman year on varsity, we’ve always got our ass whooped by Troy,” he stressed. “This year, it’s a different team and a different culture, and I feel I’ve played a big part in setting the tone.
“This was the first time I came into this game feeling confident we were going to come out with the win. I thought we were in a lot better shape and able to break them down and take the game away.”