With recruiting now becoming a year around focus of college football programs, it's never too early to start looking ahead to the next class of talented prospects.
6-0, 175 pound athlete A.J. Pickens out of Chino Hills (Calif.) Don Lugo has just wrapped up a huge junior season and is beginning to draw interest from colleges in the region.
Pickens, the son of former Fresno State WR Dwight Pickens, first appeared on Student Sports' radar with a stellar showing at the NIKE Combine in East L.A. this past March, clocking a 4.62 in the 40 and a 4.13 shuttle.
Speed is something the elder Pickens worked on quite a bit over the summer, as A.J. got his 40 time down to a 4.4, and it showed this fall, as he rushed 120 times for 808 yards and 10 touchdowns, caught 21 passes for 316 yards and three more scores, while also returning a kickoff for a touchdown.
On tape, Pickens, who plays primarily running back for Don Lugo, is a very elusive and natural runner who has great field vision and is a burden to take down one-on-one.
Once he hits the second level he displays a variety of moves that are both exciting and game-breaking. Pickens is one of those players that a coach loves to have on his team because he has the ability to score everytime he touches the ball, whether taking a handoff, catching passes or returning kicks.
"Right now A.J. is already getting mail from schools like Cal, USC, Oregon, ASU and some others," reports his father.
"Cal and USC are two he likes for sure, but he's really open to anyone in the Pac-10 at this point and is just trying to learn as much about all the schools as possible."
Look for Pickens to end up playing wide receiver in college like his father.