Photo/Zac Chamblee

Nathan Pickering will remain a Bulldog. After committing to Mississippi State last summer, the Seminary standout made it official with the school on Wednesday morning, signing his National Letter of Intent. 

Ranked as a four-star recruit and the sixth-best defensive tackle in country by 247 Sports, Pickering chose the Bulldogs over Alabama, Florida and LSU. Despite his firm commitment to Mississippi State, Pickering says his recruiting process was “touch and go between two schools” down the stretch. 

“For a while, it was Mississippi State and Alabama,” he said. “At first I was committed to LSU. Right at the end I started taking my official visits. There were some teams I had to eliminate just because they were not for me.”

In the end, Mississippi State was in the winner’s circle. 

“It just felt like home and an amazing place,” Pickering said. “My family was grateful for my opportunity to be able to play at a Division I school, and we felt like Mississippi State was the right fit for me.”

Pickering, who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 295 pounds, will line up at defensive tackle in Starkville, and he believes the opportunity for early playing time is there.

“They have three [defensive tackles], but they didn’t get much playing time last year,” he said. “So I have to come in and start playing immediately.”

Seminary coach Brian Rials agrees.

“For a big guy, he’s so athletic and can do so many things,” Rials said. “They’re counting on him to come in and play a lot his first year.”

Pickering is not the only Seminary standout expected to make a contribution at the next level next season. Defensive back Eddie Barnes is taking his talents to Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville. Alongside Pickering, Barnes made his college decision official on Wednesday as well. 

“It’s good to get to play at the next level because I didn’t think I would have the opportunity,” Barnes said. “It’s such a blessing.”

“Eddie wound up coming on as a senior for us and playing at defensive back,” Rials added. “Had a few guys looking at him late and he decided to commit to Northeast Community College. We’re proud for Eddie and his family, and we wish him the best up there.”