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Paetow High School (Texas) five-star defensive lineman David Hicks is one of the nation's biggest recruiting prizes in the class of 2023.

The 6-foot-4, 270-pound athlete is rated the nation's No. 7 overall prospect and the No. 1 defensive lineman, and he is the second highest-rated uncommitted player remaining in the country.

Over the weekend, Hicks took a return visit to Oklahoma and came away impressed by what he saw.

"I had a lot of fun talking to coach (Brent) Venables and coach (Jay) Valai and coach (Todd) Bates," he said. "I'm really close with Coach Bates. I feel like me and Coach Bates been been (talking) for a long time. We've got a close relationship, a tight relationship." 

In the past two months Oklahoma has added 14 commitments, a staggering number that highlights the energy around the program.

Hicks said that recruiting prowess helps the Sooners' cause, and it was an energy he felt during his trip.

"It's really just a family environment," he said. "That's the main thing, the family environment. They believe coach Venables and coach Bates can do something special.

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Despite a good visit, Hicks said he is still considering all of his 7 finalists equally - Alabama, Miami, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Texas A&M. 

Still, the Aggies are considered a major contender and Hicks said he's got high praise for the program at this point in the process.

"I have a really good relationship with (the coaches), so it's very high," he said. 

Neither Oklahoma nor Texas A&M are traditionally elite defenses, but Hicks said he's intrigued by what he feels is a culture change at both programs.

"I feel it's pretty cool to see that - to see how everything is changing by being around some great defensive minds," he said. 

Hicks has a lot of time before he makes a decision, as he won't announce a commitment until the Under Armour All-American Game in January. 

Junior season highlights