Wisconsin was always hanging around, looking at Jake Pickard. Still, the Badgers waited to make their offer. Pickard was initially considered as a tight end possibility, but then that option filled up quickly. He waited two months before he received the offer from the Badgers and by then, it was considered to be too late. Virginia swooped in. He was going to be a Cavalier, but he just wanted to make sure that Madison wasn't the place for him.
Turns out, the secret weapon of a visit to Madison struck again.
Honored to announce I have officially committed to the University of Wisconsin! #Badgers pic.twitter.com/Njv470SOYF— Jake Pickard (@JakePickard2015) July 31, 2014
Pickard is a three-star prospect considered the country's No. 55 weakside defensive end prospect by 247Composite. He becomes the third commitment in just over a week for the Badgers and the second to provide some big upside for the defense. The expectation is that he will add some weight to his 6'6, 231-pound frame and do his best impression of a J.J. Watt on the line. Now that's some high cotton to get to, but if you take a look at his Hudl profile, you can see why he was offered by Boston College, Louisville, Nebraska, Oregon and Syracuse, along with Virginia. He definitely has a chance to make some offensive coordinators nervous in his future.
According to BadgerBlitz.com, the UW coaching staff considers Pickard a nice fit in the 3-4.
"They said I'm kind of the definition of a defensive end -- tall, very long arms, I can put on a lot of weight and play very aggressively. I can fit into the 3-4 defense that they play. At that point, they took a scholarship away from the safeties and gave it to the defensive line, which is when my name came up and they extended me the scholarship. That kind of helped me make my decision because that was one thing that I was worried about. Why did the scholarship come so late? But they definitely cleared things up and helped me out with that."
What does this mean for further recruiting? It looks like the Badgers might just let Gus Cumberlander go gently into that good night with the depth they have at linebacker coming in and Nate Howard able to shift and play on the line. The expectation is the Badgers will grab at least one more defensive lineman in this class. It could be Elu Aydon, it could be Olive Sagapolu. It could be anybody, really.
In that BadgerBlitz article linked above, Pickard also says he plans to start recruiting for Wisconsin as well, confirming that cornerback target Isaac James will be on campus either Thursday or Friday.
One more fun fact: Pickard is the second New Jersey commit for Wisconsin's 2015 class, joining offensive tackle Sam Madden. Tight end commit/UW recruiting coordinator-in-training Kyle Penniston is excited.
Badgers strike again in New Jersey! First @SamuelJMadden & now @JakePickard2015! Welcome to the Badger Family bro! ⚪️ #OnWisconsin— - kyle penniston - (@kyle_penniston) July 31, 2014