That's exactly what Northwestern will get with Adarius Pickett, a four-star corner who plans to see campus after spending a few days in Chicago for the annual Rivals Five Star Challenge. Excelling as a dual-sport athlete at El Cerrito HS (Calif.), he represents the Cats' latest effort to land an impact talent with national acclaim.
"I'm a real physical cornerback, I like to break up timing routes," Pickett said. "That's what makes me different from most corners, I'm real physical."
It's music to the ears of a program that's lacked a consistent pass defense over the past few years. With a playmaker's mentality and confidence to "go get the ball," Pickett's last name is awfully fitting and exciting for a unit that only intercepted 13 passes last season.
Pickett's aggressive, hard-nosed style of play has resulted in offers from some of the biggest names in college football, including in-state USC and UCLA.
But despite a horde of interested programs, Northwestern continues to hang in the mix.
"I have a pretty good relationship with coach [Mick] McCall, I've been talking to him for a while," Pickett said. "Coach [Jerry] Brown liked me a lot, he liked my footwork."
Seven of NU's 10 commits for 2014 line up on the offensive side of the ball, and of those three, Ben Oxley was originally recruited as an offensive tackle. Snagging Pickett would be huge for Northwestern, and after a momentous May and a pipeline to California already in place, it's not entirely out of the question.
Pickett said he's not close to closing his commitment but noted the importance of academics in his decision. Among his 15 offers are Yale, Stanford and Virginia—some of the strongest schools in the nation.
"Northwestern academically is a great school," he said, "but they have a pretty good football team too." It's a pretty good football team that appears to be getting better, something that's not lost on Pickett and other recruits of his caliber.
If nothing else, staying attached to names like Pickett makes a statement. After taking reps and working out with commits to Alabama, Georgia and Notre Dame, Pickett will be coming to Evanston.
For now, Northwestern will continue to work for a cornerback with a playmaker's mentality, something that's perhaps just as foreign as a Five Star Challenge player.