Pahokee's Pickett Preparing for Future

While WVU had been at the top of one Pahokee (Fl.) High School wide receiver's list for some time, all it took was one look at the campus and Morgantown to get him to offer his verbal commitment to the Mountaineers.

Rising senior Fred Pickett, who also lettered in basketball and track at Glades Central High School before transferring to Pahokee this spring, gave word to head coach Bill Stewart that he would play his college football at WVU.

That commitment came after Pickett attended one of West Virginia's football camps last week, giving the Scout.com 3-star prospect a chance to see the school's campus and facilities in person, as well as to spend some time in Morgantown.

While the Sunshine State's climate may be the envy of many, Pickett actually pointed to the Mid-Atlantic weather as his favorite thing about the hometown of his future college.

"I love the weather," Pickett said. "It's like a different climate. It's real hot in Florida. (In West Virginia), you can see the mountains and stuff. The weather changes a lot up there, and the coach told me the different seasons, the leaves turn colors and stuff like that. That's real fun."

While the chance to see snow and fall foliage may have appealed to Pickett, it was something of a far more serious nature that impressed him about the school itself.

"I like the graduation rate," he said. "They're trying to get everybody to graduate and in the NFL. I just want to graduate so if I don't make it in the NFL, I can have a good life."

To that end, Pickett said he plans on majoring in criminal justice. His father, Fred, Sr., worked in law enforcement before moving on to work for the local school board, and his mother still works in law enforcement.

That type of discipline shows in the soft-spoken Pickett, who has a clear idea of what his priorities are and should be, even at his young age.

"I care about my education," he said. "I love football, but education comes first, because without it, I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing. I want to succeed and get out of the town where I'm at and make something of my life. I don't want to just be a kid. I want to make something happen."

When it comes to football, Pickett certainly has shown the ability to make something happen on the field. His accomplishments had been enough to attract scholarship offers from Florida State, Purdue and Mississippi State, among others.

A close tie with WVU graduate assistant JaJuan Seider, who is from the same area of Florida, helped tip the balance in the Mountaineers' favor.

"He's just worked with me like I was already there, like I was a player," Pickett said. "He gave me the heads up on everything so I can be ready when I come up."

While he considers himself a receiver first and foremost, Pickett also has done some work at defensive back in high school and said the West Virginia coaching staff has told him that they will look at him at multiple positions.

"They told me they were going to try to work with me at receiver, DB, kickoff return and punt return -- stuff like that," he said. "I've already played (special teams) in high school, so I know how to do that and that might help me get on the field earlier."

Pickett had the chance to work on his skills at the recent Mountaineer camp he attended. The experience was very beneficial, he said.

"It was a good learning tool," he said. "I learned more drills to help me out and get better before I even come up there. They showed me what the team does, drills and stuff like that. Those drills helped me out during the camp and I learned a lot."

"I loved the camp. It was nice -- a lot of kids, and everybody competing. I did good at the camp, too."

NOTES:

  • Pickett said that previous reports of his commitment to West Virginia back in May were premature.

    "The first commitment to West Virginia, it wasn't really a commitment," he explained. "I was talking to the coach, and I guess he misunderstood me saying I wanted to come up, meaning on a visit. That's what I was telling him, but I guess he misunderstood. I wasn't ready to commit yet, but they were still my top school. But now I'm committed."

    The Pahokee product said he will likely attend some camps at other schools in an attempt to continue to improve, but said he is firm in his commitment to WVU.

  • The rising senior said he is currently 5-foot-11 and between 161 and 162 pounds. Gaining weight is one of his biggest goals for the upcoming season, as he said he would like to be between 170 and 175 pounds before arriving in Morgantown.

    And while Scout.com has him listed as running the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds, Pickett himself claims to have ran it in 4.4.


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