Andrew Pickens of Oak Hall School excelled in three sports over his four-year career with the Eagles: football, baseball and basketball.
“I enjoyed all three sports a lot, but I had the best experience playing football because of the bonds I made with teammates and the growth I made as an athlete and as a person,” he noted.
The 2019-2020 Oak Hall Male Athlete of the Year was multitalented.
He played receiver, quarterback, safety, punter, and punt and kick returner for the football team, which advanced to the state championship game.
Pickens was also a point guard in basketball, and he was a pitcher, catcher, middle infielder and third baseman for the baseball team.
“His athleticism, hard work, competitiveness and love for his teammates made him one of the best all-around athletes in Oak Hall history,” said Oak Hall football coach R.J. Fuhr.
Pickens, who played offense and defense for the Eagles’ football team, was a first team Sunshine State Athletic Conference selection and a member of the Mainstreet Daily News/The Prep Zone All Area Football Team for small schools.
While he made the All Area team as a defender, he was also a standout on offense. Pickens rushed for 715 yards and 11 touchdowns while throwing for three scores and also returning a punt for a touchdown.
“I can’t say enough about the selfless leader that Andrew was for our football team,” Fuhr said. “He moved from receiver to quarterback his senior year and was the field general for us as we installed the single wing spin series in three weeks before the season started last fall.”
The team co-MVP also logged 38 tackles, three tackles for a loss, and five interceptions in helping lead the Eagles (9-1) to the 8-man state championship game in Lakeland, where they lost to All Saints Academy (Winter Haven).
“We could’ve never done that without Andrew’s leadership, football IQ and athleticism,” Fuhr explained.
His favorite high school moment was winning his last home football game on Nov. 6 against Merritt Island Christian.
Last year as a junior he was a Gainesville Sun First Team All-Area selection on offense after catching 35 passes for 619 yards and nine touchdowns.
On the baseball diamond, Pickens batted .288 in 2021 and finished second on the team with 18 RBI. He was also 4-1 with a 2.70 ERA on the mound.
“Andrew had a solid senior year and led our team to a successful 11-5 winning season,” said Oak Hall baseball coach Kevin Maris. “He would bring it all on game day and always played with passion.”
Pickens said there are a couple of things he will remember most about his high school experience.
“I will remember how much genuine joy and excitement I had going out there and competing with my teammates and how it all went by so fast,” he said.
Pickens will be attending Rhodes College in Tennessee to play football.
“He’s an amazing kid on and off the field and we will miss him tremendously,” Fuhr said. “But I can’t wait to see him do great things at Rhodes College.”