Despite coming to South Carolina as a five-star recruit and one of the nation’s top prospects, Pickens experienced some growing pains and inconsistencies as a freshman last season. Switching from defensive end, where he played at T.L. Hanna High School, to defensive tackle proved especially challenging.

But one year later, Pickens has found that he is doubting himself less. He’s not worried quite as much about messing up. Playing defensive tackle feels more natural.

“I’m more comfortable with it now because I’m used to it,” the sophomore said. “I had a year of it. So I’m really comfortable with it. At first I was like, ‘I don’t know about that D-tackle because you’re taking on like 300 pounds like every time.’ I got used to it now.

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