The Orange sustained a big recruiting loss in late July when Jake Pickard announced his commitment to the Wisconsin Badgers over Syracuse and Virginia. However, that was before then head coach Gary Andersen decided to take over at Oregon State and leave the Wisconsin program.
Andersen’s decision came as a shock to Pickard who expressed his feelings on Twitter after he found out the news. Just like fellow Wisconsin commit Nate Howard, Pickard did not go as far as decommitting from the program, but did say he will visit Syracuse on January 16 before National Signing Day.
This is a golden second-chance opportunity for the Orange to win back a prized recruiting piece. Pickard is a local talent from Millburn, NJ and can play at both the defensive end or tight end position. He has also been in regular contact with Syracuse coaches ever since Andersen bolted Madison.
However it will not be an easy task for the Orange to change his mind. Pickard has been in contact with Paul Chryst, the Badgers’ new head coach, along with other coaches on the Wisconsin staff. Pickard’s willingness to stay committed to Wisconsin even after a major coaching change could also signal he is leaning towards honoring his original pledge.
By keeping his verbal commitment to Wisconsin, the recruiting process becomes fairly simple for Pickard. If he falls in love with Syracuse during his official visit in mid-January, he can make the switch to the Orange right in time for National Signing Day. However if he does not see enough to woo him to the other side, it is like nothing ever happened. It is also important to keep in mind that Pickard has already seen the Syracuse campus, visiting twice during the summer.
From Syracuse’s perspective, Pickard would be much more of a luxury than a necessity at this point in the recruiting process. The Orange already has commitments from 4 defensive ends and 2 tight ends that all appear to be loyal to the program for the time being. Syracuse also is currently the 46th best class according to Rivals. However Syracuse is not a team that can afford to turn away good talent. Pickard would arguably be the best player in the class if he does decide to switch his commitment.
Syracuse lost out on Pickard the first time around in his recruiting process. They will get another shot to sway him from red to orange this month.
Posted: Zephan Mayell