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Future Clemson-USC rivals Pickens, Williams struck up friendship

Zacch Pickens talks Shrine Bowl performance, winning Mr. Football

South Carolina commit and T.L. Hanna defensive lineman Zacch Pickens was named Mr. Football and Defensive MVP in Shrine Bowl on Dec. 15, 2018.
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South Carolina commit and T.L. Hanna defensive lineman Zacch Pickens was named Mr. Football and Defensive MVP in Shrine Bowl on Dec. 15, 2018.

For the next four years, Zacch Pickens and Greg Williams will be on opposite ends of the South Carolina and Clemson football rivalry.

Pickens, the T.L. Hanna lineman, was No. 1 recruit in South Carolina. Williams, a Swansea linebacker, is the only Clemson signee from the state for the Class of 2019.

But for one week, they were teammates and struck up a friendship during the Shrine Bowl. The two defensive players each had a hand in helping the South Carolina squad to a 10-10 with North Carolina at Gibbs Stadium.

“We always messed around. It is really a brotherhood. I know we are going to go against each other but our friendship will never stop,” Pickens said.

Pickens was known throughout the week as a jokester and that continued in postgame as he was giving Williams grief as he tried to do interviews. Williams said the two bonded throughout the week, cracking USC and Clemson jokes and have a strong competition between each other when they and the rest of SC team took part in bowling one night.

“I didn’t know him well prior to this week, just what what I seen or heard on social media,” Pickens said. “But he was humble like myself and love to play the game and live life.”

Both players had strong games with Pickens winning SC Defensive Player of Game honors with seven tackles. He also led the team with 37 yards rushing. Williams had five tackles and a sack.

“We are going to be competitive on the next level and we are just ready to go on next level and go against each other,” Williams said.

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