This summer, Tar Heel Blog will profile the top 25 players in the history of the North Carolina football program. The rankings were determined by votes from readers and staff.
Hakeem Nicks, the Charlotte Independence High product, rewrote the record books during his three seasons in Chapel Hill. Nicks, a John Bunting recruit, thrived in the Butch Davis offense and helped rack up yards for eventual North Carolina Tar Heels career passing yards leader T.J. Yates.
Career at UNC
Hakeem Nicks Career Statistics
Due to the vacated wins from the 2008 season related to the NCAA investigation of improper benefits, Nicks’ participation in the 2008 season was later vacated. However, his career statistics will be presented in their entirety.
Nicks ranks second in career receiving yards at Carolina with 2,840. He held the career receiving yards record until last year when Ryan Switzer took the crown. Nicks has the most yards receiving in a single season, and his 2007 campaign his good for seventh on that list.
With 181 catches in three season, Nicks ranks third on the career receptions list at UNC. His 74 receptions in 2007 is the third-best in a single season and the most for a sophomore at Carolina.
Nicks has the second-most career receiving touchdowns in a career at Carolina with 25. His 12 in 2008 are tied for most in single season. Throughout his career, he had nine 100-yard games. Five of those came in the 2008 season.
Honors and Awards
Nicks was named to the All-ACC Second Team in 2007 and was a first team selection in 2008.
Top Games at UNC
Nicks tied the school record for most receiving touchdowns in a game with three in 2008 against Boston College. All three receiving touchdowns in that game were scored in the second quarter. In the same game he added a rushing touchdown. It was the last time a Tar Heel scored four touchdowns in a game.
In his final collegiate game, he pulled down 217 receiving yards against West Virginia in the 2008 Meineke Car Care Bowl. Those 217 yards are fourth-best single game total in program history. You may remember this reception:
Nicks was selected 29th overall by the New York Giants in the 2009 NFL Draft. He had some very productive early years with the Giants. In his second season, he had a professional career-high of 11 touchdown receptions. In his third season, he had a professional career-high of 1,192 receiving yards. He had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2010 and 2011.
During the 2011 playoffs, Nicks had 444 yards receiving, including three 100+ yard games. He had two touchdowns in the Wild Card and Divisional games. Hicks also pulled in 10 receptions on 13 targets, totaling 109 receiving yards in New York’s Super Bowl XLVI victory.
In 2012, the injury bug struck Nicks, and that foot injury would affect him for the rest of his career. He had a productive year in 2013 with 896 yards receiving for New York but was not re-signed by the Giants after the season. He spent one season with Indianapolis before re-signing with the Giants for the 2015 season where he saw limited playing time. Nicks is currently a free agent.