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Miami Legacy and Four-Star Defensive End Commits to the Hurricanes



The Miami Hurricanes football program is determined to return to the win column this week as they prepare for a home ACC matchup against the Clemson Tigers. This follows two consecutive conference game losses to Georgia Tech and North Carolina. In anticipation of Saturday’s crucial game, they’ve achieved a significant recruiting victory by securing the commitment of Tampa Wharton’s four-star defensive end, Booker Pickett Jr. Pickett Jr.’s decision to join the Miami Hurricanes, despite fierce competition from in-state rival Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, and South Carolina. However, what makes this recruiting victory even sweeter is that Pickett Jr. is a legacy recruit, following in the footsteps of his father, Booker Pickett Sr., who donned the orange and green as a defensive end in the 1990s.

The recruitment of Booker Pickett Jr. was a rollercoaster ride for Miami. Florida State seemed to have the upper hand at one point in 2023, with Pickett Jr. heavily leaning towards the Seminoles. He took multiple visits to Tallahassee, including most recently witnessing their victory over the LSU Tigers on September 3rd. However, the Hurricanes, under the leadership of head coach Mario Cristobal and defensive line coach and NFL Hall of Famer Jason Taylor, managed to turn the tide in their favor and swiftly during the season.

Miami took advantage of every opportunity to host Pickett Jr. for campus and game day visits in the past, steadily gaining momentum in his recruitment throughout the 2022 season. While they had initially set their sights on Pickett Jr., Miami also explored the possibility of recruiting other elite defensive ends from around the country entering the 2023 calendar year, which led to Florida State gaining ground in this recruitment.

Miami’s recruiting efforts extended beyond Pickett Jr. In their efforts to build a powerhouse defensive line, the Hurricanes also set their sights on two other standout prospects: five-star pass rushers Dylan Stewart, a South Carolina commit, and Colin Simmons, a Texas commit during the 2023 offseason, before having Pickett Jr. back for a game day visit at Hard Rock Stadium in September when Miami defeated the Texas A&M Aggies 48-33, and it was there where Miami made their final push with the pass rusher by capping off a phenomenal visit and putting Miami back in front. Additionally, he is scheduled to be in the recruiting section visiting Miami for the Clemson game on Saturday.

Pickett Jr.’s commitment further solidifies Miami’s 2024 defensive line class. He joins the ranks of four-star pass rushers Marquise Lightfoot and Elias Rudolph, four-star defensive tackle Artavius Jones, and Miami-Dade 4M-3M Defensive Player of the Year, Daylen Russell. This impressive group promises to bolster Miami’s defensive line depth for the future and raise the talent floor of the room.

Booker Pickett Jr. will arrive at Miami with an outstanding high school record. Over his four seasons at the varsity level with Tampa Wharton, he has recorded a jaw-dropping 70 sacks, including a staggering 30 sacks during his junior campaign. This exceptional performance earned him the title of MaxPreps Junior All-American. In addition to his sack prowess, Pickett Jr. accumulated 56 tackles, with 16 for loss, two pass breakups, and a fumble recovery as a junior. Standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing 205 pounds, he combines speed with pass-rushing finesse, terrorizing opposing offensive linemen and quarterbacks.

Booker Pickett Jr. boasts an elite first step, an array of pass-rushing moves, and the ability to dip and bend around blockers. His commitment to producing negative plays and backside pursuit showcases his dedication to making a significant impact on the field. While he may line up as a “Jack” pass rusher in defensive coordinator Lance Guidry’s 2-4-5 defensive sets, his potential to put his hand in the dirt and operate as a wide 9 in a 4-3 set, depending on his physical development, is also apparent and provides versatility. Regardless, Pickett Jr. is undoubtedly one of the top pass rushers in the 2024 recruiting cycle, with NFL-level potential as he fills out his frame.

With Booker Pickett Jr.’s commitment, the Miami Hurricanes have not only secured a highly sought-after recruit but have also climbed the ranks in the composite recruiting team rankings to now holding the 10th-ranked recruiting for the class of 2024, according to industry services.



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