Photo/Zac Chamblee

On Wednesday, Seminary’s Nathan Pickering became the second Pine Belt area football standout to receive his honorary Under Armour All-American jersey this week. Pickering joined Sumrall’s Dannis Jackson as future participants in the Under Armour All-American Game, which will be played on January 3, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. 

Like Jackson, Pickering is the first player from his school to receive the prestigious honor. 

“It’s a great honor,” said Pickering. “I thank my family, and I thank God for being there for me. It’s just a blessing to be here because where I’m from, it’s very rare for somebody like me to get this honor. I’m just blessed to have it.”

Rated as a four-star prospect by 247 Sports, the senior defensive lineman is committed to Mississippi State and holds scholarship offers from nearly two dozen other Division I programs. 

Pickering has played for Seminary coach Brian Rials for six years now.

“He [Pickering] has always been head and shoulders above most kids.”

Rials is a Seminary guy through and through having grown up there and played at the school before getting the coaching job. His history with Seminary made Wednesday all the more special. 

“It’s special to have one of our own be selected for this,” said Rials. “Nathan is a great kid. He’s been blessed with a lot of ability and talent, but he’s worked hard to earn this. It’s a happy day for Seminary.

“It’s a surprise, but it’s not a total surprise. We knew he was good enough, and we think he can compete with anybody in the country.”

Playing in the Under Armour All-American Game is something Pickering has dreamed of for quite some time. The opportunity came not long after Pickering met Demetric Warren, a well-known figure in the camp circuit and a member of the game’s selection committee. 

“I met him [Warren], and we just started talking,” recalled Pickering. “He started giving me tips of how to become a better player, and I started using those tips. He actually called me one night and offered me the game.”

As previously mentioned, Pickering will play in it with Sumrall’s Dannis Jackson and also several other Mississippi standouts, including Northwest Rankin’s Jarrian Jones, Lafayette’s Brandon Turnage, Horn Lake’s Nakobe Dean, Jackson Prep’s Jerrion Ealy and Louisville’s Charles Moore.

“It’s great because we think we’ll be on the same team,” added Pickering. “It’s just a great opportunity to go do that, especially with the people you know.”