UCLA scored a significant recruiting victory over crosstown USC on Tuesday night when 4-star cornerback prospect Adarius Pickett opted to offer a verbal commitment to the Bruins, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
The El Cerrito High School senior is among the most coveted stars in the class of 2014 from the San Francisco Bay Area. He is ranked No. 15 among the nation's best cornerbacks in the 247Sports composite rankings.
Pickett, a 5'11", 175-pound playmaker, was a top priority for the Trojans. USC viewed him as one of its top cornerback targets after 5-star Los Angeles County athlete Adoree' Jackson made it known that his intentions are to play receiver if he signs with USC, as reported by Blair Angulo of ESPN.
Instead, Pickett surprisingly decided to announce his commitment earlier than many anticipated, and UCLA picked up its eighth member of the 2014 class. He is the highest-rated player among the pack of soon-to-be Bruins, per the 247Sports rankings.
The versatile defensive back is excellent in boundary coverage and displays above-average tackling abilities. Pickett is persistent in a man-to-man setting and his physicality sets up blitz options from the secondary.
It's a major acquisition for UCLA coach Jim Mora Jr., who continues to go head-to-head for prized recruits with USC coach Lane Kiffin. The Pac-12 adversaries battle once per year on the field but remain locked in a year-long clash for California's top talent.
Pickett is ranked No. 13 in the 247Sports composite rankings of the best players in California in the class of 2014. He considered offers from Arizona State, Nebraska, Stanford, California and Purdue, per 247Sports.
Now that Pickett has pronounced his intentions to become a Bruin, it appears he's hitting the recruiting trail hard himself. Upon his announcement, Pickett reached out to uncommitted 5-star running back Joe Mixon.
Pickett also mentioned that he would attempt to change the mind of El Cerrito teammate Derik Calhoun, who committed to USC in July.
The recruiting battle between UCLA and USC continues. On Tuesday, the Bruins delivered a major blow.