The bye week is an important week for a football team as it allows the players and coaches to have a greater internal focus on improvement. However, the bye week is very beneficial for recruiting efforts as well. The extra time allows coaches to hit the trail harder and visit current targets and find new ones.
And on Thursday, Tennessee’s coaching staff offered an elite receiver from Alabama.
A little more than a week before the Vols travel to Auburn to take on the Tigers, the Vols offered current Auburn commit George Pickens. The four-star wide receiver announced the offer on his Twitter account.
— .1 (@geo_Thagoat) October 5, 2018
Pickens is currently the 40th-best player in the country according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Additionally, he is ranked 7th at his position and 3rd in the state. He is currently committed to play in the Under Armour All-American game.
Pickens committed to Auburn all the way back in July of 2017, but he has still been involved with other schools since. He’s picked up a handful of offers in that time. Pickens holds offers from nearly half the SEC including Georgia, Alabama and Florida.
The 2019 receiver from Hoover, Alabama is currently playing his senior season at Hoover High School, the same school Jeremy Pruitt used to coach when he first began his career.
While he currently doesn’t seem like he is a strong candidate for a decommitment, Pickens has expressed interest in continuing to build relationships with other schools. In the spring, he mentioned to Rivals that he was interested in taking a visit to Tennessee, and that he was building a good relationship with Pruitt and the rest of the staff. While there currently isn’t a visit planned, now that he officially has an offer, that is something to keep an eye on.
As a player, Pickens may not blow anybody away with his speed — he only runs a recorded 4.73 40-yard dash — but he more than makes up for that in all other facets of his game. Looking at his film, it’s easy to see why he is one of the best receivers in the country.
His 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame makes him the ideal possession receiver. He is a strong player, and he can easily win one-on-one match-ups. He is a very mature player, and he has great body control. He understands how to use his size to his advantage, brining in many tightly contested balls. Pickens excels as a route runner as well. He can take you deep, break off his route short to move the chains, or can roll right through the route tree. His only problem in that regard is his footwork. He takes a lot of extra steps at times, which slows him down out of his breaks. That, however, is a very coachable problem. While he makes plays all over the field, he poses the biggest threat in the redzone. It is nearly impossible to cover him with just one man, so teams either have to account for that, which then opens areas up, or they risk it and oftentimes get beat. His ball skills are elite, and he has some of the better hands I have seen in quite a while. Pickens does a great job of high-pointing the ball as well.
As a junior last year for Hoover, Pickens made 46 catches for 735 yards and five touchdowns and added two punt returns for touchdowns as well.
While it may be late in the cycle, Tennessee still has an outside chance at Pickens, even if he is seen as a very tough flip. He is the kind of player that can have an instant impact. The biggest concern for the Vols right now should be getting him on campus for a visit.