Pickard Recalls ‘Electric’ Atmosphere at U-M

2015 Millburn (N.J.) high school three-star defensive end Jake Pickard recaps his visit weekend at Michigan, interaction with the coaching staff, and details his plan leading up to signing day.

It was a busy visit weekend for Jim Harbaugh and Michigan, securing two verbal commitments in the 2015 class.

On the prowl for more commits, the Wolverines also played host to Millburn (N.J.) high school three-star defensive end Jake Pickard, currently a soft verbal commitment to Wisconsin.

“It was a very good visit,” Pickard said. “I got to be around a lot of coaches and some of the players, see facilities that I didn’t get to see before and it was great.”

The final night of the trip included a venture over to Crisler Center as Michigan basketball welcomed in No. 6 Wisconsin.

In front of a lively crowd the Wolverines forced overtime with a three in the closing seconds from sophomore point guard Derrick Walton Jr. Michigan wasn’t able to complete the comeback though, falling 69-64.

Regardless, Pickard recalls his experience, actually spending the second half cheering Michigan on from the student section.

“It was electric,” Pickard said. “They were taking pictures with us and it was awesome. It’s a huge a fan base at Michigan.”

Still in the early process of getting to know Harbaugh and the entire Michigan coaching staff, Pickard spent a good chunk of time with all of them.

With all of the coaches having success at all levels of football including the NFL, Pickard says the personal interaction really stood out.

“That was all very positive,” Pickard said. “They’re all amazing coaches but also very good people. We spent the whole weekend with them, having dinner and lunch and even just hanging out in the coaches offices.”

Already standing 6-foot-6, 232-pounds, Pickard fits the profile of a defensive end Michigan covets.

“Coach Harbaugh said he just sees me as a classic defensive end and one he’s worked with in the NFL,” Pickard said. “He said my frame is huge and one that we can work with and add a ton of weight to.”

Asked whether or not he felt he wanted to commit to Michigan while in Ann Arbor, Pickard pumped the brakes.

“Not on the visit but I got to talk to my family and see what they’re thinking,” Pickard said. “I want to make a decision before signing day, definitely.”

Clearly with a lot to think about, not to mention more in home visits this week from Syracuse on Monday and Michigan later in the week, Pickard knows exactly what his decision will come down to.

“Just my gut feeling,” Pickard said. “That’s the thing, I’ve gotten it at a few places.”

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