Arkansas remains the only SEC school to offer Ardrey Kell (N.C.) senior running back/corner Justus Pickett, though several others remain interested, Kell coach Adam Hastings said this week.
This could have an impact on South Carolina target Drew Owens, a promising Kell tight end who could decide to join the Razorbacks in a package deal with his prep teammate. Owens will visit Arkansas this weekend, one week before he visits USC.
Pickett is an intriguing prospect. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder has 4.4 speed and has put up big numbers this season. He has 1,476 yards in eight games and is averaging nine yards per carry.
West Virginia, Stanford, Duke, East Carolina, Wake Forest and Illinois had offered before this season began. He's drawing new interest from Florida and several other SEC schools, including USC, but none of them have pulled the trigger other than Arkansas.
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Some programs are struggling to determine what position he'll play in college. Many believe he has the potential to be a great corner, but he hasn't played the position much during his career, so schools are hesitant to take a risk on him.
"I think the more people watch him and see what he can do with the ball in his hands, they are thinking about bringing him in as a running back," Hastings said. "I think early in the year people liked him as a corner, but when you see what he can do running and catching — he has almost 600 yards receiving — people realize he's pretty special on both sides of the ball."
USC coaches told Hastings that the Gamecocks are evaluating the status quo and could decide to offer Pickett later in the process.
Highly touted offensive tackle Brandon Shell isn't the only player at Goose Creek drawing attention from college recruiters these days. Juniors T.J. Burrell and Virgil Smalls have basked in the limelight shining on Shell and the program.
Both have earned a handful of scholarship offers and are being recruited by a large number of other programs, Goose Creek coach Chuck Reedy said. He did not name any of the schools specifically, though he said SEC and ACC schools are interested in both of them.
Burrell is a 6-foot-1, 195-pound outside linebacker with 4.5 speed. He projects as a hybrid safety/outside linebacker or defensive end/outside linebacker depending on how much weight he gains.
"I think he's that hybrid guy that a lot of people are looking for," Reedy said. "He could eventually even grow into an inside linebacker, but he runs very well. He plays outside for us, so he's used to playing in space."
Smalls is Shell's half-brother, so he also grew up in a family rife with bloodlines. He is an intimidating pro-style fullback that is cut out of a mold from the 1980s.
"Anybody looking for a fullback — a lot of people aren't looking for one these days — are interested in him," Reedy said. "He's a full-grown man. He's 5-11, 260. He's very strong and very physical.
"We run our fullback a lot. We're an option team. We'll run out of the I, too, so he's a lead blocker. He does both of those things very well. He's not really fast. He's a 4.9 guy, but he's big and physical. I doubt there is anybody around that looks like him in the South. He could go into an NFL locker room and fit in."