August 1, 2014 at 6:39 AM
MILLBURN NJ- The decision is in: Millburn High School senior, Jake Pickard will taking his talents to Madison, Wisconsin to join the Badgers football program in the fall of 2015 to play football.
It is no wonder that Pickard was so heavily recruited, especially when looking at his versatility. For the Millers, Pickard exceled in many facets and played several positions including Defensive End, Tight End, and Punter.
Pickard made his announcement to join the Badgers at Millburn High School on Thursday afternoon in front of reporters, friends, and family members. Pickard’s family visit to Madison early this week may have tipped the scale closer to Wisconsin fro Pickard. During the school year, Wisconsin coaches and recruiters reached out to Pickard and visited MHS.
The day before his announcement, Pickard wrote on his Facebook page that the schools he was deliberating between were Syracuse, Wisconsin, Virginia, Oregon, and Purdue. According to sources close to Pickard, the student-athlete was looking to find a school with a good academic and athletic balance, a combination that the University of Wisconsin offers.
Pickard who stands at 6-5 and weighs 234-pounds received many offers from great schools, which were not considered in the athlete’s final tally. Pickard received additional offers from Temple, Rutgers, Nebraska, Louisville, Illinois, Cincinnati, and Boston College.
Though Millburn High has not historically sent many football players to Division 1 colleges, Pickard claims that MHS has set him up for success at the next level. Pickard exclaims, “Millburn has really prepared me academically for the next level. It's shown me the importance of education and that's now a big thing I look for in choosing my commitment.”
Football has always played a significant role in Pickard’s life. He started playing football in elementary school and in some years was led by his father, Andrew Pickard who would help coach the youth Millburn teams. College football was always the goal for Pickard, and now he will reap the benefits of his hard work. Picard reports, “[College Football] means the world to me. It's crazy to think that a little leather ball could change my life so much. It's given me the chance to attend schools that I wouldn't have been able to without football. It's a crazy experience that will influence the rest of my life.”
Pickard is an extremely motivated athlete with lofty goals. He continues to defy the odds and prove people wrong that tell him that he cannot achieve his goals. Pickard told TAP, “What really motivates me is the abundance of people that have been telling me that I can't all my life. I rarely stepped on the field up until freshman year. Also my family pushes me to be my best and that's pushes me. Finally, I want to put Millburn on the map as a school that can produce athletes along with strong academic students. In the future, I look to lead Millburn to a state championship and represent them at the next level.”
Pickard is very thankful to those who have helped him accomplish his bold goals, especially his family, those who have coached him over the years, and the coaches that have taken interest into recruiting him. Pickard showed this grace on his Facebook page, writing, “Thanks again to all the coaches who have given me the opportunity to play for them.”