Cimarron’s Jaylen Pickle held firm to early commitment with K-State football

Cimmaron’s Jaylen Pickle was the first player to commit to Kansas State’s 2018 recruiting class. (Submitted)

During his recruitment and frequent visits to Kansas State football games this fall, Jaylen Pickle found a kindred spirit in current Wildcat Trey Dishon.

 

Both play defensive tackle and come from Class 3A Kansas high schools. If Pickle can follow the path taken by Dishon, K-State will soon have an impact player in its 2018 recruiting class.

“I took my official (visit) last weekend and Trey was my host,” Pickle said. “He told me the one thing to remember was to not put limits on myself. He came from basically the same situation as me from a small school and neither of us were really very highly recruited. I may have been recruited a little more because he was getting ready to go to a Division II school before K-State picked him up.”

Dishon came to K-State from Horton and, after a redshirt year, has started every game as a freshman and sophomore. Pickle, from Cimarron, was the first player to commit in the Wildcats’ 2018 recruiting class and Wednesday he will make it official when he signs a letter of intent.

“I’ve been a fan of K-State my whole life,” Pickle said. “Most of my friends go to school in Manhattan, and being close to home I will have a strong support group there.”

Pickle committed to K-State on May 6, the first of 13 oral pledges for the Wildcats in this first-time early signing period that includes Lawrence High defensive back Ekow Boye-Doe. Pickle remained firm in his commitment despite ongoing contact from other programs.

“People would still call to talk to you and try to get you to switch sides to them,” he said. “I knew in my heart that this is where I wanted to be so any school that called me I just said thanks for calling but I’m really into K-State.

“I listened to what they had to offer but I knew where I wanted to be. No schools were going to overpower K-State in my mind.”

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Pickle is rated the No. 3 prospect in Kansas by Rivals.com and No. 4 by 247sports.com. He had 50 tackles his senior season for Cimarron (7-3) with four tackles for loss and one fumble recovery while playing defensive end, and was a two-way starter as a fullback where he rushed 69 times for 337 yards and 13 touchdowns and caught nine passes for 116 yards and one TD.

“In talking to coach Latimore (Mo, K-State interior line coach), it sounds like they’ll play him at a three-tech on defense, and I think that’s exactly where he belongs,” Cimarron coach Greg Koenig said. “We tried to do that but we needed him on the perimeter at defensive end a little bit more than we needed him at the three-tech.

“For us, he was playing fullback so he had to run pass routes and block and carry the ball. Once he gets there and he has one special job and one place to line up, I think the sky is the limit. It’s hard to coach 6-6, 280. He has some gifts that other people don’t have so my anticipation is that they will redshirt him and let him develop physically and also learn the speed at the game. I think in two or three years, Jaylen is definitely going to be a contributor in that program.”

Pickle also is looking forward to settling into one position, although he did enjoy his time on offense.

“I told myself after this year it would be the last time I touched the ball,” he said. “It’s fun playing on both sides, but it’s mentally challenging as well as physically challenging. Playing offense is fun and you get a lot of glory out of it, but you can also get a lot of glory playing defense.

“Being a defensive tackle you have to plug holes, but I like to make plays. I do my job but I like to make big plays and be all over the field.”

Pickle said he wasn’t concerned about the stability of the K-State coaching staff, including head coach Bill Snyder and how long he will continue to coach. During his high school career, Pickle has played for four different head football coaches, three in basketball and four in track.

“No, they really don’t talk to us about that,” Pickle said of conversations with the Wildcat staff. “We’re there to play for the logo. I respect coach Snyder but I didn’t make my decision based on who is in the head office. I’m going there to play my heart out for the colors and the logo.”

That attitude was reflected in Pickle’s leadership skills in Koenig’s first season at Cimarron.

“I told him at the end of the season,” Koenig said, “that one of my major concerns was how this Division I guy was going to accept a new coach: Is he going to be coachable and be willing to do whatever we need? He was more than willing.

“He is a great teammate. He would put his arm around a young kid and show him how we wanted things done. He’s very, very smart and picked things up as fast as anyone on the roster so that made it really easy to allow him to help the younger guys out. He was a leader by example in that regard.”

As signing day approaches, K-State’s 13 commit class is heavy on defense with five defensive backs and three defensive linemen along with three offensive linemen, one quarterback and one wide receiver.

With several on-campus visits scheduled over the weekend, the top targets being pursued include several junior college players: Inside linebacker Will Honas, Butler Community College, who also is looking at Nebraska and Iowa; Butler fullback Luke Sowa, who has an oral commitment to Bowling Green; outside linebacker Vernon Dasher, Coffeyville Community College; and inside linebacker Jacoby Simpson, Houston (Macarthur High School), who de-committed from Arizona State this past week and re-opened his recruitment.

K-STATE RECRUITING COMMITMENTS

Ekow Boye-Doe, CB, 6-0, 165, Lawrence (Lawrence HS)

x-Shane Cherry, OT, 6-5, 300, Grandview, Mo.

Cartez Crook-Jones, DE, 6-4, 230, Grandview, Mo.

Christian Duffie, OG, 6-4, 305, Houston, Texas (Summer Creek)

John Holcombe, QB, 6-4, 220, Humble, Texas (Summer Creek)

Jacquavius Lane, WR, 5-11, 172, Loganville, Ga. (Grayson)

Kaitori Leveston, OT, 6-5, 290, Waco, Texas (Midway)

Wayne Jones, S, 6-0, 190, Owasso, Okla.

Darreyl Patterson, CB, 5-11, 175, Lawton, Okla. (Northeastern Oklahoma A&M)

Jaylen Pickle, DT, 6-5, 260, Cimarron

Lance Robinson, S, 5-11, 178, Marrero, La. (De La Salle)

E.J. Thomas, CB, 6-1, 170, Atlanta, Ga. (Carver)

Spencer Trussell, DE, 6-4, 225, Arlington, Texas (Martin)

x-Grayshirt offer

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