Syracuse senior ready for homecoming trip to Heinz Field
Sean Hickey has at least two more games left in his Syracuse football career, with a January all-star game a major possibility as well.
The Franklin Regional graduate and Orange fifth-year senior offensive tackle knows that not many of his previous collegiate games will be as meaningful as the one he will play on Saturday.
It will be a homecoming to Pittsburgh for Hickey, as he will play his first game at Heinz Field.
Syracuse, 3-7 overall and eliminated from bowl eligibility, will face 4-6 Pittsburgh in a 3:30 p.m. Atlantic Coast Conference battle on ESPNU, and it is a meeting of two teams hoping to break three-game losing streaks.
Hickey said he’s very excited to play in front of dozens of family members and friends, and most of them will see him play a college game in person for the first time.
He said more than a 100 supporters could be in the seats at Heinz Field.
“There will be a bus of coaches and players heading down,” Franklin Regional head football coach Greg Botta said. “He will have a lot of people there for him.”
Botta said Hickey, who is expected to be one of the top linemen selected in next spring’s NFL Draft, has brought pride to his family, friends and the Franklin Regional community.
“He is such a respectful, down-to-earth person,” Botta said. “His work ethic is unmatched. He’s also such a strong motivator among his teammates. He was that way when he was at Franklin Regional. He’s just mature beyond his years.”
Syracuse played at Pittsburgh to close out the 2011 season, but Hickey missed the season because of a lower body injury and wasn’t able to travel to Pittsburgh with his Orange teammates.
Since then, Hickey has been an anchor of the offensive line at left tackle.
He hasn’t missed a game in three seasons, a span of 36 consecutive starts.
This season, the 6-foot-6, 305-pounder has opened holes for running backs who have eclipsed the 100-yard mark five times.
The 2013 All-ACC Honorable Mention selection is a finalist for both the Outland (best interior lineman) and Lombardi (best offensive or defensive lineman or linebacker) awards.
Hickey was celebrated during senior-day activities in Syracuse’s Carrier Dome on Nov. 8. However, the Orange were unable to get by Duke in a 27-10 loss.
Hickey also recently received a scholar-athlete honor from Syracuse athletics.
“Sean knows the importance of the games, but he also knows the importance of his education,” Botta said.
“It was one of the big reasons he came back for his final season.”
Michael Love is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5825 or at [email protected].