Jake Pickard was arguably the biggest recruit for the Orange in the 2015 class. After a long recruitment, which saw him commit to Wisconsin, Wisconsin's coach leave for Oregon State (still don't get that one), and Michigan come in with an offer late, Pickard chose the school that was there from the beginning.
High School: Millburn HS, New Jersey
Position: Defensive End
Stats: 6'5'', 234lbs
Main Recruiter: Bobby Acosta
Commitment Date: January 30th
Ratings: Scout (3), Rivals (3), ESPN (3), 24/7 (3)
Other Offers: Michigan, Wisconsin, BC, Cincy, UConn, Illinois, Louisville, Nebraska, Oregon, Purdue, Rutgers, Temple, Virginia
I really can't say enough things about what this commitment meant to the 2015 class. While we had just managed to hold onto Clark, this class didn't really have the centerpiece like we had in Ishmael last season. Pickard's commitment not only made a statement in New Jersey, but made a statement around the country that Bobby Acosta and this Cuse staff was the real deal.
The fact that the Orange went into NJ and pulled out four highly talented prospects is huge. The fact that they pulled one of those away from Harbaugh at Michigan and Wisconsin (despite the coaching change)? Massive. Pickard comes in to anchor a very young defensive line, and if he comes into camp ready to go, there's a good chance he'll be playing against Rhode Island in the first game of next season.
I had the pleasure to meet Coach Acosta at MetLife Stadium earlier in the season when the Pats played the Jets, and being the great guy he is, he spoke with me about recruiting for a few minutes, and told me 2015 was a good class for us but look out for 2016. If that holds true, I can't wait for next season. (fun fact: Pickard was also at that game)