January 3, 2008

Pickens opens up about ASU commitment

A.J. Pickens had known for quite some time that he would likely wind up playing football at Arizona State. On New Year's Day, he made it a resolution, and followed it up by informing the Sun Devils a day later.

"Yesterday I had some time to just talk to my family about it and everything was just so clear," Pickens said of the New Year's Day conversation. "I've known for a long time that ASU was my leader and I just didn't see anything happening that was going to change that.

"I feel real good about everything at ASU. The coaches are great, the players were really cool on my visit and I loved the facilities. Nothing really [equaled] that on my other trips and when I had time to just think about it I just knew this was what I should do."

At 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, Pickens is being recruited exclusively to play the slot receiver position, even though he was primarily a running back at Don Lugo High School in Chino Hills, Calif. He is considered a recruit who can become a Rudy Burgess-type of player for the Sun Devils.

When I called coach Lubick I just told him that I was ready to commit and he was really happy for me," Pickens said. "He thinks it's a really good decision and that I'll get good coaching there and we can compete for Pac-10 Championships and big bowl games. They showed they can do that just in their first season so why wouldn't you think they could do it all the time."

Pickens tripped to ASU in late October, and followed that up with visits to Arizona, Fresno State, Oregon State and Washington. He reported offers from all four and was also being recruited by Cal, Oregon and other schools at varying stages of the process.

Listed as an athlete by Rivals.com, Pickens is the 59th recruit at the position, and 64th ranked prospect in California.

As a junior, Pickens had 120 carries for 808 yards and ten touchdowns and 21 catches for 316 yards and three touchdowns and as a senior he had 102 carries for 930 yards ( 9.1 yards per carry) and nine touchdowns and 14 catches for 69 yards.

"I feel like a lot of weight has been lifted off my chest and now I just focus on getting ready for college," Pickens said. "I want to be in the best shape I can be in and just be ready to go. I'm really excited about it and can't wait to get out there."

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