JakeP UNDERRATED – 2015 DE Jake Pickard

In a recent Open Post, we mentioned a player out of Millburn, NJ, named Jake Pickard. If you’ve ever been to Jersey, there are two distinct divisions of the state. Northern Jersey which is basically an extension of NYC, and Southern Jersey which includes Atlantic City, a more suburban environment, Atlantic City, the pine barrens if you’re a sopranos fan and legends of the Jersey devil. In northern Jersey there’s a lot of good football that is played. Schools like Don Bosco and Bergen Catholic are perennial powers, and for years have supplied countless players to Notre Dame, Penn State and a lot of Big 10 schools. I always scratched my head as to why Rutgers couldn’t be a school with organic upward movement kind of like Miami had in the 80’s. Jersey is one of those states that if hs players didn’t leave for other states, the talent is so rich that it would be a tall task beating Rutgers.

Why this is all relevant is when you look at Jake’s film, there are a couple of things that jump out at you. First is his length. Jake goes 6’6″ 219, and has a frame that screams Dan Cody to me. Watching his film, after seeing about two plays, I had flashbacks to 2003 and 2004 watching Cody terrorize the Big XII. Those long arms are just uncanny in the resemblance as well as the athleticism. The next thing that jumps off the film to me is his first step. When we watch hs linemen, one of the things we always look for is who is first off of the line in the film. Offense or defense, to see who is quickest off of the ball is a good indicator of the explosiveness of the player. If you’ve checked out the film in the Open Post (which we will repost below) it’s easy to see that there’s really no competition for him when it comes to getting off the ball first. There were numerous plays that had me talking to myself again. What’s scary about Jake is while he’s only 220 lbs now, you see a guy who is lined up in the A gap for most of his film. At 220 lbs you’d think he’d get pushed around a bit, but it’s just the opposite. With that quick first step, he makes opposing offensive linemen look like they’re taking bad angles when it’s really that he’s just that much quicker than he is.

Jake reminds me of a guy that I played with in college named Steve Halvorson. Steve was 6’5 and about 270, and as a freshman when he was a senior was like trying to block a ghost. When you watch Jake, it’s a lot like that. You see linemen coming off the ball that are barely brushing shoulder pads with him. To see him doing it against a pretty solid level of football in Jersey too, is something that makes you think about what he can become. While he’s only 220 now, you have to remember that the kid isn’t even a senior in high school yet. By the time he gets to a college campus he’ll be 240, and after a redshirt year, he’ll be pushing 260 as a rs freshman, and there’s no telling how much weight you could hang on that frame. He would be the kind of guy who would be an absolute terror at that 4i spot that Coach Montgomery uses.

Jake is one of those guys when you look at his film it just makes you question is everyone else seeing what I am? The guy is severely underrated and doesn’t have any offers, but when you dig a little deeper, you find that he’s being presented to the world as a tight end. Where Jake is special is on the defensive line. 6’6″ 219 (could play at 280), runs a 4.75 40 and a 4.25 super shuttle. The 4.25 shuttle is what baffles me about this guy. That big and that quick? Geez that’s just not fair. And we’re not talking about some fluke shuttle time. He has run around that time multiple times.

Jake is going to be someone to keep an eye on for sure. If Monty gets in there and offers him, we may have a good chance of getting him on campus for a visit. His Dad played at Ball State under Coach Kish, so there’s a connection there, not to mention great athletic pedigree. Aside from all of the tangible stuff like measurements and 40’s etc., when you watch Jake, the guy’s just a football player. He’s one of those guys that just gets it done. While he’s underweight a little now, it’s not even an issue since he’s so quick and naturally strong. Kind of like an Eric Striker who’s 5’11” on a good day finding a way to dominate a first round tackle.

Bottom line we are huge fans of Pickard’s game and he’s one of the top guys on our wish list for 2015.


  • Sooner Ray

    Kid sure is hungry for the ball, has no problem getting around the O-line. Can’t believe he’s only 220.

    • Doobie74OU

      HUNGRY is the word. That’s what makes the Dan Cody comparison spot on. Cody would get so fired up coupled with that athleticism and he was near unstoppable at times!

      • KellyB

        I always loved this. Talk about getting so fired up that you pass out

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plnGt7HgSb4

        • Sooner Ray

          I had completely forgot about that, I remember laughing my ass off watching it back then. Thanks for the memories!

          • JJsooner1

            I remember that! Reminds me of the kid on “Friday Night Lights”. Just wants to hit someone:-)

  • Super K

    Love this kid! So much you can do with him. Potentially gives the defense a lot of flexibility.

    • Sooner Ray

      If you didn’t see where he lined up pre snap and only seen the end of the plays, you would bet money he was coming off the edge.

  • Cory Reedy

    Could maybe be JJ Watt’ish someday??

    • Super K

      If he puts on weight I think his ceiling is up there with the elite. Elite first step, elite length, elite change of direction, elite leaping ability, etc. He just needs to continue to fill out and develop technically as a player.

      • JJsooner1

        Geez. 6’6″ and imagine another 30-40 pounds with his athleticism? Dang, I’d hate to be the guy blocking him!

  • EasTex

    Impressive young man.
    No way he flies under the radar for much longer.
    After seeing him brutalize all those kids in the video, showing him and his sibs at the end was a nice touch. Good looking family.

  • Andrew

    I Hope that the coaching staff is on this kid….his first step is “strikeresque” but with a larger frame. Do you guys ever lead the coaching staff to players like this who fly under the radar??
    Anybody else pumped about the direction and talent that OU is currently moving towards?
    BOOMER!!!!

    • JJsooner1

      Yep. All of us are excited about the direction and national scope this program is developing.

      • Andrew

        Wow…..just…..Wow!!! He is just like Dan Cody!!!

  • EasTex

    I just had a visual thought.
    Pickard in the OU drill.
    http://youtu.be/tleSnj4OD0g

  • Leroy Jenkins

    So assuming OU offers him (which they should), wouldn’t that start getting him major attention from schools in the northeast? It’d be hard getting him away from say Penn State, Rutgers, Syracuse…even UCONN. I like the Kish connection, and he’s got too much upside not to offer.

    Hope Jake saw this article and knows that great things are ahead of him.

    • http://www.TheFootballBrainiacs.com/ JY

      We’ve heard from people close to him if OU offered early we’d be in the thick of it.

      • Leroy Jenkins

        Did you find out if he’d prefer playing TE or DE in college? And that’s great news, hope we offer…and Kish is his recruiter.

        • Sooner Ray

          I wonder if there’s film on him as a TE since this one has him in the A gap primarily. Don’t see him playing there at the D1 level, looks like a pure pass rusher to me. The kid absolutely knows how to slip a gap and get off blocks, I’ll give him that.

  • Fear The Magic

    I agree with you JY. Im from the NY/ NJ area and Don Bosco is certainly a powerhouse for sure. I think that they could compete with some of the better Florida and Texas schools most years.

    • Jed

      Yep, there are some good athletes from that part of the country…and not nearly as many elite colleges recruiting them. Any comments from the Brainiacs on whether there exists an ‘official’ strategy on the part of the coaching staff to make OU a ‘national’ brand?
      Also, this is my first post here. Been lurking a while. I really appreciate the seriousness of this site. Generally learn something here. Thanks.

      • JJsooner1

        Welcome Jed! These guys are really, really good at what they do and love.

      • http://www.TheFootballBrainiacs.com/ JY

        The shift from primarily recruiting Texas to nationally happened with this class. Of 26 players signed this year…
        7 were from Texas
        9 were from pac 12 country
        6 were from California(if you count Ijilana from JC(Jersey Native))
        2 Arizona kids
        1 Utah native
        5 were from SEC country
        1 Georgia
        2 Louisiana (Nola)
        1 Mississsippi
        4 were Oklahoma kids
        1 was from Ohio

  • Shelby is a Patriot

    This article will definitely help get him attention! Hopefully a lot from OU!
    Good stuff, guys.

  • Shelby is a Patriot

    Jeez, he’s got some long arms!

    • Mark hale

      I love his’ motor’ but his upper body needs a lot of development and hopefully he can carry a lot more weight while ‘ keeping his feet under him’. Often players that add a lot of weight in a short time, typically take a year or two to get his quickness back.

  • John Garner

    I played my HS ball in South Jersey. A Group IV school. I miss the farmer’s markets, the great sandwiches, the diners and surfing at Long Beach Island. I don’t miss the winters. Thanx for a great write up.

    • http://www.TheFootballBrainiacs.com/ JY

      Lived in Hoboken for a couple of years. Definitely miss the fresh Mozzarella, Cannoli and the Italian delis for sure.

  • JJsooner1

    Wow. Tremendous first step and anticipation. He’s like blocking a catfish. Just slips through and makes plays. Great use of hands and arms to bat down passes. Very good wrap-up guy with tackling. Your comparison to Dan Cody is spot on. Great analysis JY!

    • http://www.TheFootballBrainiacs.com/ JY

      Kept thinking about Dan Cody, or if he could beef up maybe a JJ watt type player

      • blaster1371

        Where or how odd you hear about his guy?

        • http://www.TheFootballBrainiacs.com/ JY

          We’ll never tell ;)

          • blaster1371

            Hope you could decipher my iPads misguided attempt to auto correct me. I was asking how did you come across this kid.
            The Dan Cody comparison was very accurate. His closing speed was /is impressive. He seems to “feel” the blocking scheme quickly and finds the ball while on the move.

          • Sooner Ray

            That’s what impressed me, his ability to chase down plays coming from an inside position. Doesn’t seem to ever quit on a play either and that usually translates to good work ethic.

          • blaster1371

            Agreed. Relentless is a word that came to mind while watching him.

  • Jeff Frederick Jr.

    That first step is lethal. If he can pack on some good weight and keep his burst and speed off the line, his ceiling as far as potential goes is way up there. I want this kid. I don’t care if I have to setup a tent outside the Barry Switzer Center and live there for a few days, I’ll do it if I can just get this film in one of the coaches hands.

    • http://www.TheFootballBrainiacs.com/ JY

      I’ll bring the refreshments ;)

  • Ed Cotter

    Love seeing these write ups on under the radar kind of guys. TFB helping get guys noticed. NICE!!

  • Boomer4life

    This kid has so many upsides, you would have to be blind not to see it. A couple things that stood out to me was the never-ending motor on him, he always finishes strong. His awareness of where the ball is, just insane. Once he bust’s through the o-line and sees that the quarterback still has the ball he has natural instinct to get his arms up. He is gonna be even more of a beast at the next level. Whoever ends up with this kid will have a special player no doubt about it.

    • Sooner Ray

      foolsball is the devil Bobby Boucher!

      • Boomer4life

        Foosball?! You playin’ da foosball behind my back?!

        • Sooner Ray

          My Mama says them gaters are ornery because they got all them teeth and no toothbrush.

          • Boomer4life

            because they have an enlarged medulla oblongata.

  • CoachStauder

    Very quick first step, obviously playing out of position from what he will in college. However, his pad level is high and if I’m scheming against him I’m trapping the crap out of him. Great shooter of gaps, but is very raw in technique along the DL, imo, and you could really figure out how to take advantage of his tendency to get up field. I do see a lot of upside, though.

  • Doobie74OU

    JY
    How does the fact that OU is being considered by a lot of the TOP Tier Recruits in the country affect an offer on a guy like Pickard. I mean if OU starts landing 2 or 3 of their top 5 options I guess it becomes a numbers game and guys like this slip between the cracks. Make the evaluations of these HS players even more valuable! Thanks for the in depth research though, great to hear about players around the country!

  • Don Mitchell

    Jrsy Sooner here, this kid is a Dan Cody all the way plays crazy lights out but is really light.