The Daily Gamecock

Incoming five-star freshman Zacch Pickens adds strength to defensive line

In South Carolina's 17th-ranked 2019 recruiting class, Zacch Pickens is the only five-star recruit.

Pickens signed his national letter of intent to South Carolina on Dec. 19, 2018. The Anderson, South Carolina native graduated from high school a semester early and enrolled at South Carolina in January so he could participate in spring practice. 

Pickens is a defensive end who led the T.L. Hanna High School Yellow Jackets to a 14-1 record and a South Carolina 5A state championship game appearance in his senior season. He had 87 tackles with 15 tackles for loss and six sacks in his senior season.

Pickens’ most notable play during his senior year was a pick six against Dutch Fork High School in the state championship game, which was played at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Pickens was selected to play in the Under Armour All-American Game and in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, earning Defensive MVP honors. 

He was named the top player in South Carolina for the 2019 class, as well as the No.1-ranked defensive tackle in the nation, according to 247 Sports. Pickens also has a 0.9946 rating, according to 247 Sports. 

Although Pickens and the other freshmen on the team are not allowed to talk to the media under head coach Will Muschamp’s rules, Pickens’ mom Felicia Harris shows her pride on Twitter and has been extremely vocal in the Gamecock fanbase. 

“It’s been a long time in the making. I’m just full of emotion,” Harris told Gamecock Central in an interview. “Can’t explain how happy and proud I am … Deep down in the heart of hearts, he knew Carolina felt like home.” 

Pickens’ older brother Kevin is also on the team as a defensive back.

Pickens is expected to make an immediate impact on South Carolina’s defensive line and strengthen the pass-rushing attempts. He also adds depth to the defense as a whole, which was a weakness for South Carolina during the 2018 season because of injuries within that unit. 

Pickens will begin his first year with the Gamecocks when South Carolina kicks off against UNC in Charlotte on Aug. 31 at 3:30 p.m.


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