General: Payed in 44 career games with 29 starts ... Played outside linebacker most of career ... One of the defense's vocal team leaders ... Developed into a solid and consistent performer, playing well on every snap ... Played middle linebacker much of his sophomore season (due to the injury of Pat Durr), but returned to the outside in 2003 ... Closed career with 292 tackles and 13 TFLs.
2004: Played in 2005 Hula Bowl Maui All-Star Game ... Sat out first three games of the season while rehabilitating a shoulder that he injured in late spring ... In his first start of year, and his second game since returning from the injury, earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors for his nine tackles, which included 2.5 pass sacks, and a forced fumble in win over Ohio State ... It was his first Big Ten weekly honor ... His forced fumble, which NU recovered, stopped a possible OSU scoring drive and resulted in a field goal for NU ... Returned to action vs. Minnesota and notched two tackles ... Totaled eight tackles vs. Indiana ... Three tackles at Wisconsin ... Finished with nine tackles vs. Purdue ... Registered six tackles in win at Penn State ... Totaled seven tackles (six solos), including a 6-yard sack at Michigan ... Nine tackles, including a 0.5 sack and two hurries vs. Illinois ... Closed career with 10 tackles, including two TFLs (one sack), at Hawaii.
2003: Team's third-leading tackler with 106 hits ... Registered 10 tackles and a QB hurry vs. Air Force ... Led team with eight tackles in opener at Kansas ... Two tackles vs. Miami ... Eight tackles, a fumble recovery, a pass deflection and hurry at Duke ... Delivered 11 tackles (six solos) at Ohio State ... Logged a team-most 73 plays vs. the Buckeyes ... Eight tackles, including a TFL, vs. Minnesota ... 10 tackles and a hurry at Indiana ... Six tackles and a hurry vs. Wisconsin ... Seven tackles (six solos) at Purdue ... Tallied a season-high 12 tackles, which included two TFLs, vs. Penn State ... Nine tackles and a hurry vs. Michigan ... Notched six tackles and a pair of TFLs against Illinois ... Team's third-leading tackler in Motor City Bowl vs. Bowling Green with nine tackles (seven solos) ... Also had 1.5 TFLs vs. the Falcons.
2002: Moved from outside (will) linebacker to middle linebacker following injury to Pat Durr ... Came off the bench in final five games ... Best performance at middle linebacker came against nationally ranked Ohio State -- 17 tackles (nine solos), a forced fumble and a QB hurry ... In his first start at middle linebacker, posted nine tackles (seven solos, one TFL), a forced fumble, pass deflection and a sack vs. TCU ... Notched a season-high 19 tackles (nine solos) vs. Duke ... Also had nine hits (eight solos) in season opener at Air Force ... Seven tackles and a hurry at Navy ... 12 tackles (eight solos) at Michigan State ... Seven tackles at Minnesota ... Seven tackles vs. Purdue ... Six tackles against Indiana ... Four hits at Iowa ... Team's second-leading tackler and 13th in Big Ten with 101 hits (8.4 per game).
2001: Played as a true freshman, mostly on special teams and at reserve outside linebacker ... Totaled 22 tackles, including a season-best four hits in collegiate debut at UNLV ... Had three tackles and a pass deflection at Purdue.
High School: SuperPrep All-Northeast Region ... Super 100 All-New Jersey Team ... Rated the fifth-best linebacker in the state by the McCarthy Report ... Second-team all-state ... First-team all-league and all-county ... High School Heisman Award winner ... Twice named Franklin Lakes Journal Athlete of the Week ... Team captain ... Recorded 72 tackles, three sacks and three interceptions his senior season ... Had 160 tackles, five sacks and six interceptions in high school career ... Lettered five times as a prep (3 -- football, 2 -- wrestling) ... Team captain in wrestling ... High school coach was Mike Miello.
Personal: Born John Byron Eugene Pickens on 2/13/83 ... Son of Eugene and Jewell Pickens ... Played against NU teammate Luis Castillo in high school ... Chose NU over Virginia and Purdue ... Communication studies major.
The Pickens File
Q: If you could dine with anyone from any period in history, who would it be?
A: Walter Payton, not only because he was a great athlete, but because everyone always talks about what
a great person he was.
Q: If you could have a starring role in any film already made, which movie would you pick?
A: The Fast and the Furious
Q: If you had to choose the best television show ever made, which one would you pick?
A: The Simpsons
Q: The best book I have ever read is...
A: "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck
Q: My ultimate SportsCenter highlight would be...
A: Make a huge hit, cause a fumble, one of my teamates takes it to the house and then celebrate with them in the end zone
Q: My favorite place to visit is...
A: The Dominican Republic -- Everyone should go there at some point if they get the chance.
Q: The person that inspires me the most is...
A: My father, Big Gene
Q: My favorite food is...
Q: Which current NU football player is the biggest jokester?
A: Demetrius Eaton
Q: If you could suddenly possess an extraordinary talent in one of the arts, what would you like it to be?
A: Drawing or painting
Pickens' Career Statistics
TACKLES G UA A Total TFL Yds PD FF FR
2001 10 9 13 22 0.0 0 1 0 0
2002 12 63 38 101 1.0 1 1 2 0
2003 13 56 50 106 6.0 13 1 0 1
2004 9 37 26 63 6.0 26 0 1 0
TOTALS 44 165 127 292 13.0 40 3 3 1
SACKS G UA A Total Yds
2001 10 0 0 0.0 0
2002 12 1 0 1.0 9
2003 13 0 0 0.0 0
2004 9 4 2 5.0 24
TOTALS 44 5 2 6.0 33