Birmingham (Alabama) Hoover kicker Barret Pickering was told to visit Nebraska – it would be in his best interest. Turns out, the Nebraska coaching staff was being legit.
After visiting the Red-White game last weekend, Pickering left Lincoln with an offer from the Huskers.
“Every school says it is in your best interest, but they basically said I would be receiving an offer, without saying I would receive an offer,” said Pickering. “It was a big weight off my shoulders. Most kickers have to go to camps and other stuff, hoping they could land in a good spot. It was a relief to find a place to call home. Coach Riley told me in his office. It was exciting hearing that, especially with my dad sitting there.”
The No. 2 kicker in the 2018 class according to Kohl’s Kicking, Pickering earned Alabama All-State first-team honors as a junior and was named a Maxpreps First-Team Junior All-American in 2016. Pickering connected on 19-of-27 field goals, going 49-of-49 on extra points. Six times he connected on kicks from 40+ yards. He is the nation’s No. 28 punter according to Kohl.
“I really enjoyed it,” said Pickering regarding his time in Nebraska. “I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know a ton about the school or the fan base, but I was blown away by everything.
“It was very shocking. I’m from Alabama, so people are dedicated to Alabama and Auburn, but it’s nothing like Nebraska. It is insane.”
While Nebraska graduate manager Nick Smith (specialists) has been active in Pickering’s recruitment, head coach Mike Riley has been doing a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to the 2018 prospect.
“They basically told me good things were going to come if I took this trip. They said I needed to experience Nebraska to truly understand what it is like,” said the junior. “It shows me the importance Nebraska puts on their specialists. A lot of schools, the kicker is an afterthought. It is good to be valued, knowing the head coach cares about the position.”
Pickering also knows the success Nebraska has had at the position.
“You want to go somewhere knowing you have the best opportunity. It is my dream to play in the NFL. But I must take one step at a time, but it does weigh heavy knowing they have had success,” said Pickering.”
Sometimes an offer can open the flood gates and on Monday, less than 48 hours after hearing good news from Nebraska, Vanderbilt came to the table.
“I have been going to their camps for a long time,” said Pickering. “It is close to home. I wasn’t for sure if they would offer. I was at their junior day and we talked a little bit about it. I think they got a little worried when Nebraska offer, because I was their No. 1. I’m not one to leverage schools because I have an offer. I don’t want to pressure anyone or force an offer my way.”
Pickering isn’t looking to walk-on anywhere and says Nebraska and Vanderbilt are his top two. He will likely be making a decision in the coming weeks.