Wicker Reworking Official Visits

OCT. 23 -- Long Beack Poly defensive tackle Joesph Wicker was recently offered a scholarship by Texas Tech, but his official visit schedule has seen another change as academics have superseded his recruitment this month...

Long Beach (Calif.) Poly defensive tackle Joseph Wicker is one of the hottest recruiting names in the Golden State, and with 17 tackles for loss and 15 sacks as a senior, the Pac-12 has taken notice.

“We changed our defense a little,” said Wicker. “We started running gaps, so it’s pretty much I’m really just going up the field and I don’t really have to read the play. I just have one gap. Really it’s more simple for me. It’s just easier.

“But I’m still trying to improve on my reading, like screens and traps. That’s really my weakness.”

One big change this season for the Poly defense is the hiring of new head coach Antonio Pierce. The former New York Giant Pro Bowl linebacker has brought a new approach to the Jackrabbit football program.

“He’s cool,” said Wicker. “He treats me like an adult, gives me accountability and all that stuff. Really, he makes me be accountable for everything. It just makes me work harder.”

Off the field, Wicker must continue to improve as well. While he has had official visits scheduled to Arizona State, Miami and UCLA in previous months, those trips have been reschedule -- again.

Wicker admits that he has pushed back his official visits because he needed to take the SAT first. That happened last week.

“It felt good to get that done,” said Wicker. “It wasn’t that bad. I felt like I could have done better, but I can take it again so I’m not really stressing over it.

“I just had to get a score just to take a visit and then from there, I just have to get a certain score to qualify.”

Wicker’s visit schedule has been augmented accordingly. Wicker will now officially visit Arizona State in November with a trip to Texas Tech in the works thereafter.

His visit to Miami is now up in the air with Arkansas becoming a new contender for a visit in November as well.

Locally, UCLA became one of Wicker’s most recent scholarship offers.

“I was going to go to the UCLA game, but I didn’t have a (ride),” said Wicker. “And then the Oregon-UCLA game, I was going to go, but I had the SAT.”

USC remains on the outside looking in on his recruitment. While Wicker grew up a Trojan fan, his communication with USC has been sporadic.

“Well, you know, they try to talk, but I feel like they’re going to try and like offer me late if somebody doesn’t commit or something like that,” said Wicker. “I’m not worried about it. It is what it is. I’m just happy to have offers. I’m just proud of it.”

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