Longhorns in the NFL: Dickson’s rookie campaign continues to impress

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Photo Credit: Katie Bauer | Daily Texan Staff

The NFL season has now reached its midway point with the conclusion of Week Eight, where many former Longhorns around the NFL competed and performed at a high level. Here are just a few of the former Texas stars that shined Sunday:

Michael Dickson

A victory against the Lions on Sunday saw Dickson punt the ball four times for an average of 49.5 yards a kick. His longest punt went for 60 yards and he pinned the opposing team twice inside their own 20-yard line. His kicking performance was exceptional, but that’s not why NFL fans raved about the rookie on social media.

On a punt from the back of his end zone, Dickson decided to pull off the boldest play of the year. He decided to audible and sprinted for an nine-yard first down as a result, effectively killing the Lions’ chances of winning.

With one of the most memorable fake punts in recent years, Dickson once again showed why he’s the most exciting punter in the NFL.

Jordan Hicks

The Philadelphia Eagles’ defense is back to the level that brought them a Super Bowl last season. The return to form has been led by middle linebacker and former Longhorn Jordan Hicks.

Hicks is the team’s leader in tackles, and on the field, he’s been the driving force in Philadelphia’s fourth-ranked rushing defense.

Combine Hicks’ knack for bringing down running backs with an elite defensive line and pass rush, and it’s easy to see why the Eagles are a daunting matchup for opponents, week-to-week.

In Sunday’s game in London, Hicks registered 12 total tackles and 1.5 sacks in a 24-18 win over the Jaguars. He continues to be the heart of one of the league’s top defenses, enjoying the best season of his career.

Holton Hill

The cornerback for the Minnesota Vikings entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie last spring. His chances of even making the team were slim, at best.

Despite the odds being stacked against him, Hill locked up a roster spot, seeing a limited special teams role as a kick returner.

As the season progressed, his presence on defense increased. This culminated into this past Sunday’s game when he finally received his first career start against the New Orleans Saints, replacing the injured rookie Mike Hughes.

Hill capitalized on the opportunity with five total tackles and an interception in his first serious action all year. Despite the way he entered the league, Hill is beginning to carve out a role for himself on the Vikings and could be an impact player for the team going forward.