Committed Over: Jake Pickard committed to Wisconsin over a top list of Oregon, Syracuse and Virginia. He also had offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisville, Nebraska, Purdue, Rutgers and Temple.
Rated: Pickard is currently ranked a three-star prospect and the No.43 tight end in the country by Scout.com. He’s expected to play defensive end for the Badgers.
On Film: Pickard gets off the ball quick and covers a lot of ground in a few steps when he's playing down hill. He is long and does a nice job of changing direction on plays, and he knows how to make his body big to keep running backs from getting past him easily. A lot of Pickard's pressures come through the middle, and he doesn't go for the pump fake as he chases down a quarterback.
When it comes to initial contact, Pickard will have to develop a stronger punch, but he understands how to use his hands and how to keep linemen off of him. He also does a good job disengaging and locating the ball carrier. When he cannot get to the passer, Pickard is adept at getting his arms up. At 6-6-6 and with good hand-eye coordinator, he bats down an inordinate amount of passes at the line of scrimmage.
He played at 212 as a junior, so the 22 pounds of added strength and size should help him greatly as a senior. With strength will also come an increase in speed. He already has a tremendous motor and has good straight line speed, and he will improve on his ability to get to the sideline as he modifies his running technique. – National Recruiting Analyst Brian Dohn.
Recruiting Impact: After losing out on Detroit Cass Tech’s Joshua Alabi and a handful of other defensive end prospects, Pickard’s decision is a nice grab for the Badgers, who are looking to bring in athletic prospects to play those outside defensive position to bring more pressure on opposing offenses. He represents the second defensive end prospect in the class along with Mequon (WI) Homestead three-star prospect David Pfaff.
Wisconsin now holds two defensive end prospects and two outside linebacker prospects in the class and will likely continue targeting those hybrid players that defensive coordinator Dave Aranda covets. Of the defensive ends still on the board, the Badgers are sitting very well with Irving (TX) Cistercian Prep three-star prospect Dare Odeyingbo, who is ranked the No.52 end in the country. Odeyingbo has the Badgers in his top grouping and will likely take an official visit sometime in the fall.
Quotable: “I was already in love with the town and the program, and then when I realized these were the guys who were going to be taking care of me the next four or five years of my life, and how comfortable I feel around them and how comfortable I feel in the program and in the building and with the players, I just knew that it was home.” – Pickard.
Final Thought: The pipeline to New Jersey started flowing for Wisconsin in 2010, but the river quickly ran dry. Quarterback Joe Brennan was ineffective and transferred and high school/college teammate Sherard Cadogan has bounced between positions. The Badgers also landed D.J. Singleton, but he never made it to Wisconsin.
After making an impact in Florida, Georgia, Texas and the West Coast, Wisconsin’s coaching staff is now getting results in New Jersey, landing a really solid lineman and a versatile athlete who is good enough to play on both sides of the football.