John Hicks, a standout offensive lineman at Ohio State University who became a first-round draft pick and rookie of the year for the Giants in 1974 but whose professional career rapidly fizzled, died on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. He was 65.
The cause was complications from diabetes, said his wife, Cindy.
Hicks, at 6 feet 2 inches and about 260 pounds, started for the Ohio State Buckeyes as a tackle under Woody Hayes in 1970 and became a critical part of the team.
He went on to capture the kind of national attention rarely given to offensive linemen when the Buckeyes won Big Ten Conference championships in 1970, 1972 and 1973. Ohio State went to the Rose Bowl in each of those seasons and emerged victorious in 1974, against the University of Southern California, by a score of 42-21.
A Hicks teammate in 1973, Archie Griffin, a running back who won the Heisman Trophy twice, told The Columbus Dispatch in 2001 that having Hicks on the line was reassuring. “I just had so much confidence running behind him because I…