Pickett's Pick

After committing to WVU in May without having set foot on campus, then rescinding that commitment later, one Pahokee High product offered his verbal to the Mountaineers once more after visiting Morgantown for a summer football camp.

While the Pahokee player himself wasn't available early Friday morning, Fred Pickett, Sr., talked about his son's experience in Morgantown after attending one of WVU's summer camps.

The elder Pickett came away impressed with the university's emphasis on academics for athletes.

"It seems to be a great place for a kid to learn without all the other distractions that come with playing college ball," Pickett said. "They really care for the kids. That was the feeling I got from it."

"They have a lot of volunteers that come out and help the kids academically. The academic component, I was impressed with."

The small-town lifestyle in Morgantown also was appealing to Pickett as a father concerned with the distractions that can come with being a big-time college football player.

"I didn't want him to go to a city where the bright lights catch those kids," he said. "Many kids fail because they can't handle that kind of spotlight. I didn't want that for him. I wanted him to go somewhere low-key, where drugs and all the other things that permeate society -- I didn't want that."

"I wanted him to go somewhere where it's a hard-hat town, where people work for a living. You don't have cats selling drugs -- at least I didn't see that myself. We get a lot of that in our area."

To help his son escape that sort of lifestyle, Pickett, Sr. had to help make the difficult decision to send his son far from home for college.

"I don't want him that far away," he said. "I don't think any parent wants their child 18 hours away. However, if that's what's best for him, you have to accept that."

Knowing some of the West Virginia coaches may help the star receiver's father feel a bit more comfortable with the decision to send his son so far away from home for college.

After all, this is hardly the first go-round with the recruiting process for Pickett, Sr., who is a long-time coach at Glades Central High, where his son played for three seasons before transferring to Pahokee this spring.

The elder Pickett said his previous experience with some of the West Virginia coaches through the recruitment of other players helped him build trust with them early.

"I have many strong relationships with coaches from many different schools," said Pickett. "(WVU recruiting coordinator and assistant coach) Doc Holliday is one who has been in the business for a long time. I have a great deal of respect for him. It's a good group of guys up there."

Those coaches helped tip the balance in a recruiting battle that pitted WVU against Florida State, Florida International and Minnesota, among others.

Pickett, Sr. said his son currently is around 5-foot-10 and 172 pounds. That frame has helped him play both receiver and defensive back and letter in both basketball and track in addition to football during his time at Glades Central.

With a GPA hovering between 2.6 and 2.7 currently and a crack at the ACT coming in August, the elder Pickett said his son "is not going to have any problems qualifying."

While Pickett may have backed off his earlier commitment, both father and son enjoyed their time in Morgantown enough to the point that such issues are unlikely to arise again.

"It's got the atmosphere that attracted me and attracted my son," Pickett, Sr. said of West Virginia. "It was a good experience for both of us."

Keep checking back with BlueGoldNews.com later today for more on Pickett's verbal commitment, including his own take on his visit to Morgantown.

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