South Carolina is one of the schools on the short list with DE Booker Pickett (6-4 205) of Tampa, and he’s a player who could make a whole lot easier for Gamecock defensive ends coach Sterling Lucas. That’s a severe position of need for USC, especially when it comes to rushing the quarterback.
The Gamecocks totaled just 20 sacks last season, and six of those came in one game. Pickett totaled 30 sacks alone last season, and 52 over the last two seasons. That’s why Lucas is doing his best to get Pickett to Columbia.
“It’s been about a year now, give or take, me and Coach Sterling have been in close contact,” Pickett said. “I’ve spoken to the head coach. I’ve spoken to the recruiting coordinators and all that. The relationship has grown a lot. I went up and visited South Carolina last summer, and I loved it there. I went to their barbeque, and overall, I liked the environment and the vibe. I just loved it when I was up there and I want to keep building that type of relationship as we move forward.”
Like all the defensive coaches who have scouted Pickett, he no doubt sees a unique defensive end talent who is able to beat offensive tackles and wreak havoc in the backfield.
“He likes my quickness and how I attack the quarterbacks basically,” Pickett said. “My quick first step. I can bend. I’m violent. They really can’t touch me. The way I move, I can dip and rip. They love my explosion and quickness basically. They need pass rushers. That’s what I do. He knows I’d fit well in their defense and I know he can develop me well, too. All of that plays a big role as to why they are in my top schools.”
The others on Pickett’s short list right now are Miami, Florida State, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio State, Penn State, Southern Cal and Louisville. He visited Miami for a junior day in January. He’s looking at visits to Southern Cal and Ohio State this spring. He plans to visit USC again as well and tie that visit in with one to Georgia. The Gamecocks, he said, will be a factor moving forward.
“They are pretty high up there,” Pickett said. “They’re not at the bottom at all. They are pretty high up to be honest with you with the other places I have the best relationships…Miami, Ohio State, Georgia…schools like those that have been recruiting me hard.”
Last season Pickett totaled 56 tackles and he forced four fumbles.