T.L. Hanna defensive end Zacch Pickens (6-foot-4, 270 pounds) lives just across the county line from Pickens County so Clemson is an obvious potential college destination for him. But Pickens said he also grew up a USC fan. In fact, he said in his younger years, he always rooted for the Gamecocks when they played the Tigers.
Pickens was at USC’s junior day last month and his focus was more on the books than football.
“The visit was more about education,” Pickens said. “I’m real big on education and so is my mom. With Coach Muschamp we just sat there and we didn’t talk football, we talked about life after football is over.”
But of course, there was plenty of time for football talk between Pickens and the Gamecock coaches.
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“They were saying that they want to build around me because I’ll be a big part of it if I go there. They said I’d be playing my same position. They are all good feelings for them because they are a really good football team and a really good program.”
Pickens visited Clemson last season for practices and for games. He also got the chance to sit down with Dabo Swinney and the defensive coaches.
“They said I’d probably be a big part of their defensive line and they would try me at different places to see where I fit in,” he said. “But I like the idea of playing outside. Coach Swinney and the coaches are all real nice and they get real excited when they see me.”
Pickens said he will get back to USC and Clemson for spring practices. He also has been to Georgia for a junior day and this Saturday he’s going to Tennessee. Some of his other offers are Florida State, Penn State, Michigan, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Auburn, Miami, LSU Alabama and Oklahoma.
Don’t look for Pickens at any of the recruiting combines this spring. He said he’s not attending any though he’s got plenty of invites. He also said he is not graduating early and probably won’t sign until February.
Last season Pickens had 72 tackles with 14 tackles for loss and six sacks.