Josh Kendall

‘Definitely going to be a dominant force,’ rave reviews continue for Zacch Pickens

Five-star freshman Zacch Pickens hasn’t been full strength yet at South Carolina’s spring practices, but one veteran teammate already is predicting big things.

“He’s definitely going to be a dominant force,” junior Buck end Brad Johnson said. “He’ll definitely be getting a lot of reps, but he’s got two seniors in front of him, two good ball players. I don’t know about start but he will definitely see the field I feel like.”

Pickens is the first five-star signee of the Will Muschamp era at South Carolina. He enrolled in time for spring practice but has been slowed by a hamstring injury. Pickens was rated the No. 1 defensive tackle prospect in the country by’s composite system. Johnson expects him to spend most of his first season at defensive tackle, although South Carolina’s coaches have said Pickens has the ability to play end or tackle.

“He’s been playing a lot of tackle and I feel like that’s going to be his primary position,” Johnson said. “I don’t think he’s been at 100 percent since the beginning of camp but he’s definitely coming back. He’s improving every day and I think he’s getting stronger every day.”

Seniors Javon Kinlaw, Keir Thomas and Kobe Smith are the top three tackles in South Carolina’s rotation at the moment. Johnson, D.J. Wonnum and early enrollee freshman Rodricus Fitten are playing Buck this spring. (Senior Daniel Fennell is out with a knee injury.) Aaron Sterling, J.J. Enagbare and early enrollee Joseph Anderson are playing the defensive end position.