In 1970, Hicks came onto the Buckeye scene and won the job as a starting tackle. He unfortunately missed his sophomore year due to a knee injury, but rebounded to put together two spectacular seasons in 1972 and 1973. During Hicks' three years, Ohio State posted a 28-3-1 record, and each year, Ohio State won the Big Ten Championship and went to the Rose Bowl, making Hicks the first person from OSU to play in three Rose Bowls.
In 1972 Hicks was recognized as a First Team All-America selection and earned his first of two All-Big Ten honors. He repeated his All-Conference honors his senior year and again earned All-America honors, this time as a unanimous selection. His stellar senior season and dominance of the line of scrimmage caught the eye of the voters as Hicks won the Lombardi Award as the nation's most outstanding lineman and the Outland Trophy as the nation's best interior lineman.
The 6-3, 258 pound tackle started as a sophomore in 1970, freshman weren't eligible, and helped them go to the Rose Bowl. In 1971, he started off the season in dominant fashion before injuring his knee and missing the last six games of the season. He came back to become an All-American in 1972 helping the Buckeyes to go back to the Rose Bowl. Then he had his monster 1973 season. A first round draft pick of the New York Giants, injuries would put a halt to his pro career.
Hicks was the first player to ever start in three Rose Bowls and was part of a monster Ohio State team. The unbeaten Buckeyes lost to Stanford 27-17 in the 1971 Rose Bowl. Next year at the 1973 game, Ohio State got steamrolled by USC 42-17. But the 1974 Rose Bowl game would be unbeaten Ohio State's year to steamroll USC 42-21 as Hicks (Archie Griffin, Pete Johnson?) led the way to 323 rushing yards.