Pickett, a standout at El Cerrito (Calif.) High School, came to his new grouping of suitors based on which schools are recruiting him the hardest. In the coming month, he plans to cut the list further and focus on six schools.
"I'm just looking for the school that's going to fit me overall, and will make me a better player and person," said Pickett.
In that grouping, Purdue would appear to be the most unlikely of options. It's one of the furthest schools from El Cerrito and has been recruiting him shorter than any of the others on his list. However, the Boilermakers find themselves in a favorable position. Coach Marcus Freeman, who leads recruiting in the Golden State, has Pickett thinking highly of Purdue.
"It's a great academic school and they play pretty good football," Pickett said of Purdue. "Coach Marcus Freeman came to my school and said I have a spot there."
Freeman and Pickett speak frequently by phone and have met several times in person. The two have built a close relationship.
"It's really cool; we joke around but also get really serious—just talking about life," Pickett said. "I feel like I can go to him and talk about everything."
Pickett's original plan was to hold off on making a verbal commitment until a January all-star game. Now, he intends to pledge during the fall. Before that happens, Pickett will take official visits to help narrow down his list even further.
While Pickett has yet to set his official visits, he knows a trip to Purdue is in order. This could make or break the Boilermakers' chances.
"Once I see the school, I'll be able to tell you how I would fit," he said.
For now, Purdue finds itself in the hunt for Pickett, the talented cornerback. There's still a long way to go in this recruitment.