College football player from NJ in running for Heisman Trophy
A college student from New Jersey is in the running for one of the top awards in sports.
Ocean Township High School graduate Kenny Pickett is a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
Ocean Township High School is not known for its football players, and Picket was never a hyped-up freshman. But he had just the right makeup to become a true star.
Pickett’s fake slide stands out of all the plays from a dramatic college football weekend. The 23-year-old’s instincts were on full display.
“I’ve never really done that before, so I just kept going as I initially started to slide,” Pickett said.
That same night, Pickett set a record for touchdown passes by a University of Pittsburgh quarterback, moving past football icon Dan Marino.
“He’s a legend in Pittsburgh. He carries himself the same way when I met him when he was 10 years old,” says Don Klein, who coached Pickett in high school. The two are still close to this day.
When Klein hits the road to see him play, Pickett always seeks him out to show his gratitude. Klein says that it is a relationship that he treasures.
“Absolutely crazy to think about the success that Kenny’s had,” Klein says.
Part of this is because Pickett was barely a 5-foot-6 freshman in high school. He has grown into a potential first-round NFL pick.
Pickett would hardly be New Jersey’s first Heisman Trophy winner. Mark Ingram won it a dozen years ago. He was born in New Jersey. Ron Dayne went to high school in South Jersey. Mike Rozier was from Camden. In the 1950s, Princeton had a star running back. And after Notre Dame in the 1940s, Angelo Bertelli called Clifton home.
Pickett showed flashes of his ability in high school. It was a rare combination of talent, worth ethic and confidence.
“He’s got a winner’s mindset. He’s got a champion’s heart. I think all those experiences have led us to this point where we have a Heisman candidate and a first-round pick,” says Klein.
The Heisman Trophy winner will be announced Saturday night at a ceremony in New York City.