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A lot of folks – including us – thought that Jake Pickard committing to Michigan was a foregone conclusion once an offer from Jim Harbaugh came in last week. The 6-foot-6 Garden State native made the trip to Ann Arbor over the weekend, and as far as Orange fans (and Wisconsin fans – doesn’t anyone remember he’s technically committed to the Badgers?) were concerned that was that. Apparently, it’s not.

Despite the fact that Michigan landed multiple verbal commitments this weekend, including highly touted 6-foot-6 quarterback Zach Gentry, who had previously been committed to Charlie Strong and the Texas Longhorns, Pickard went back home to Jersey without pledging his allegiance to the maize and blue. So now, it’s looking like the battle for Pickard is going to come down to the wire with Michigan, Wisconsin, and Syracuse all in the mix.

The feeling around Syracuse circles, including that shared by our own Justin Roe, was that if Pickard got through the trip to Ann Arbor without verbaling to the Wolverines it meant that Syracuse still had a fighting chance. And now, with Scott Shafer and the Syracuse coaches heading to New Jersey to visit with Pickard tomorrow the tide could once again turn in Syracuse’s favor.

It was clear that while Pickard was enjoying his trip to Michigan, he was certainly still thinking about and considering his other options as well. His Twitter feed was filled with mentions and retweets from Wolverine fans, to be sure, but there was plenty of Syracuse representation as well. Of course, if you follow Jake on Twitter, no doubt you saw this, to:

That’s going to be tough to beat. For the record, the other recruit pictured (the one wearing #44, not the old guy, just to clarify) is Reuben Jones, a three star defensive end recruit from Florida who had previously been committed to Nebraska but flipped to Michigan during his trip to Ann Arbor.

At the end of the day, all Syracuse fans could hope was that Pickard would still be a legitimate possibility following his visit to Michigan, and for Scott Shafer to have one last chance to convince Jake to come to Syracuse and follow in the footsteps of recent standout defensive ends like Dwight Freeney and Chandler Jones. And wouldn’t you know it? That’s exactly what happened.

Jake Pickard may not wind up in orange, but at least we’ve still got a shot – and that’s all we could have hoped for at this point, isn’t it?

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