It sure didn’t feel like Oklahoma was going to take a kicker for the 2016 class, especially following such a stellar freshman season from Austin Seibert.
But Seibert showed signs of wearing down last year and depth is never a bad thing. And when you can look in your backyard and find some talent, that’s not a bad thing, either.
So that’s the story of how Edmond (Okla.) Memorial’s Braxton Pickard will end taking an official visit to see the Sooners this weekend.
Although the visit came as a surprise, Pickard’s relationship with special teams coach Jay Boulware isn’t something that has occurred out of the blue.
“Yes, we’ve been talking since my junior year,” Pickard said. “OU has been sending me lots of letters. Coach Boulware came last Monday and talked and everything about setting up this visit.”
The question going forward for Pickard is what exactly is OU offering. Are the Sooners looking at Pickard for a scholarship, or is it more in line with a preferred walk-on spot?
Entering the weekend, it’s more about a preferred walk-on position. But knowing how things change so much in recruiting, it’s 100 percent possible a scholarship will be available for Pickard when signing day rolls around.
Even if there isn’t one, OU is sitting in a pretty good position.
“I’ve been an OU fan my whole life,” Pickard said. “I’m still considering them my front-runner right now. I love OU and the facilities. I love what Coach (Bob) Stoops has done and getting to know Coach Boulware. Getting to learn from him would be great.”
Pickard said he has appreciated Boulware’s honest approach through it all so far. Pickard said the plan would be for him to be a field goal kicker.
OU isn’t the lone school showing interest as Illinois and Air Force have both recently offered. Other schools are also inquiring about things, but it seems like Pickard could be headed to OU if the weekend goes as good as he hopes.
Pickard is no stranger to OU, either. He went to two games as a junior and also attended junior day. He also went to two more games this last season where Boulware had a message for him.
“This could be you,” Pickard said.
Pickard said he hopes to get to know the coaches and the players a lot more this weekend. Obviously the scholarship would be nice, but he wants to feel a part of the team.
He knows his host will be Seibert, who he got to know through the kicking camp circuit with Kohl’s Kicking.
Pickard said he believes he can pretty consistent from 50 yards and in and does have the ability to make a 55-yarder. But as good as he believes his leg is, that’s not his biggest strength.
“I have a great mental attitude,” Pickard said. “I love to kick under pressure. I love when it’s all on the line and people are challenging me.”
Pickard connected on 10 field goals and averaged 39 yards per punt with 47 attempts as a senior.