HOOVER, Ala. – Five-star wide receiver and No.1 recruit from the state of Alabama George Pickens verbally committed to the Tigers in July of 2017 and was the face of Auburn’s 2019 class. That all changed when Pickens made the shocking decision to flip to rival Georgia and Kirby Smart on National Signing Day.
The decision was a shock to most of the college football world, but not Smart.
Smart addressed the media on Tuesday at SEC Media Days and the question was posed how Smart was able to flip such a strong commitment from Auburn and get Pickens to come to Georgia.
“He's a kid we recruited throughout the entire process,” Smart said. “[Pickens] came over to our place for several football games. He knew what he wanted. He knew what style offense he wanted to play in. He saw an opportunity when he saw two guys declare early for the draft in Mecole [Hardman] and Riley [Ridley] and Terry Godwin leave and then Isaac Nauta, there was a lot of touches there available, and I know he wanted to have an opportunity to play with a quarterback like Jake Fromm.”
Auburn’s uncertain future might have been the downfall and the reason Pickens chose Georgia over the Tigers. Auburn will start a freshman quarterback this year, whether that be Bo Nix or Joey Gatewood, and Smart was able to use that to his advantage and get the unexpected commitment.
The commitment from Pickens was a big get for the Bulldogs who are grasping for receivers to help out Fromm who has thrown for 57 touchdowns on nearly 65 percent passing in his two years at the helm and now Fromm has that go-to receiver he desperately needed.
“We're excited to have George [Pickens],” Smart said. “He's come in this summer and worked tremendously hard. He's been there from day one, grinding with our guys… We're excited to have him. We're looking forward to seeing him work and earn his opportunities.”
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