2011 Intro: Justus Pickett

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Despite sustaining a couple injuries last season, Justus Pickett never missed a game and finished second in Mecklenburg County in rushing.

"He had separated ribs, so he didn't get a lot of practice time so he could play on Friday," former Ardrey Kell High School head football coach Marty Woolbright said. "And then he got turf toe. There was a week in there that he had the flu."

"I'm a team player and I definitely want to play every game," Pickett said. "No matter what it was I was going to play. Knowing that junior year was a big year for me, it was important for me to play and deal with whatever injury I was dealing with at the time."

Pickett's exact stat line was 208 rushes for 1,328 yards and 13 touchdowns. The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder also had almost 400 yards and four touchdowns in receptions, and returned two of his kick returns for scores.

The plan was to start Pickett both ways last season. However, those nagging injuries limited his defensive playing time for much of the season.

"It was hard to get him on the defensive side of the ball because he missed so much practice time," Woolbright said.

Prickett did, though, have two interceptions last season.

Pickett's iron man season has grabbed the attention of numerous colleges. Duke, East Carolina, South Carolina, and Stanford have offered him a scholarship while other schools have expressed interest including California, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, Tennessee, UCLA, and Vanderbilt.

"Justus is a very versatile player," Woolbright said. "He can be a zone ‘back, option ‘back out of the zone read out of the shot gun. I think he'll really be a great defensive back… Also, he could be a slot receiver.

"I think they'll sign him as an athlete. Some of them like him at defensive back, because he has a great vertical jump, he's a 4.4 in the forty, and he's a very intelligent young man."

Pickett estimates that 75 percent of the schools are recruiting him as a running back. The rest like him as a defensive back. He doesn't have a position preference.

The inclement weather the last few months has forced Pickett to cancel several recruiting trips. However, during the fall and summer, he was able to visit Clemson, Duke, Georgia, UNC, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt.

Pickett plans to attend Auburn's Spring Game. He's also in the process of scheduling trips to Michigan, Ohio State, and Stanford.

Pickett aims to make a verbal commitment a couple weeks before the season starts. At the present time, he doesn't have a leader.

"Right now, I'm not trying to put any school before another one," Pickett said. "I have a top five schools, but none really leading – Georgia, Ohio State, Stanford, South Carolina, and probably Tennessee. Those are definitely big time programs I've been watching for a while. I like their offenses and I think it would be a good fit for me."

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