WXXV Student Athlete of the Week: Resurrection Catholic’s Daniel Pickens
A lot of times in sports you hear the phrase ‘Mr. Do it All’ and on the Gulf Coast it’s hard to find a better example of that than this week’s WXXV Student Athlete of the Week.
Resurrection Catholic’s Daniel Pickens can play just about every position in more than one sport and is now less than 48 hours away from kicking off his team’s run through the first round of the 1A football playoffs.
Ever since the third grade, Daniel Pickens has loved playing the game of football. He grew up watching his favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys, and his favorite player, Ezekiel Elliot, who was their first round pick in 2016.
Pickens is a junior at Resurrection Catholic, where he stays pretty busy, playing running back, wide receiver, cornerback and safety.
He currently leads the team in both rushing and receiving yards, rushing touchdowns, and total touchdowns. “I mean it’s great seeing my hard work pay off, but I just always gotta stay humble and knowing that I can’t get all those yards without my linemen and my quarterback. Just always stay humble and be grateful for the blessings I have.”
Pickens choosing to stay humble throughout his success and the success is no surprise to Head Coach Eric Denmark. “I saw it when he was in eighth grade when we moved him up and he was running scout teams for us at tailback when we were getting ready to play Simmons in one of the playoff games and trying to imitate their running backs and he was seeing holes that a senior would see, and I was like this kid is going to be special.”
Pickens says he keeps playing football not only because of his adoration for the game, but also because he wants to be just like his big brother, DJ Pickens. “Watching him play and watching him get better at it, I just want to be like my big brother, I guess. He’s a great example of what to be and how to be a good football player.”
Not to mention, Pickens draws added motivation from the rest of his football family. “My teammate, seeing them do all the hard work in the summer and all the summer workouts and hard practices. Them coming out here and giving 100% makes me want to do 100% as well.”
Pickens not only committed to football, but also basketball, which gives him a chance to play for his father, Andrew Pickens.
The dual-sport standout just as busy off the field, recently selected by RCS to participate in Singing River Electric’s Youth Leadership Cooperative University.
He’s also one of just three students selected to attend the 2023 Youth Leadership Workshop in March and the Youth Tour of Washington DC in June. Coach Denmark said, “Just as a person you won’t find a finer kid. He comes from a great family. His dad is Coach Pickens, head basketball coach and retired military. His mother, as you heard, works at NASA as a supervisor over there. Very respectful young man. In the classroom, I’ve taught him since seventh grade. He’s always made straight A’s in my class. You go to the other classes and check his grades, and they’re all A’s…so you can’t ask for a better kid.”
After graduation in 2024, Pickens plans on continuing his football career as well as pursuing a bachelor’s degree in journalism to become a sports analyst.
Resurrection travels to undefeated Hamilton for the first round of the 1A playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday.