TCPalm Super 11: No. 10 St. Lucie West Centennial CB Henry Pickens

Jon Santucci
Treasure Coast Newspapers

TCPalm is announcing its annual Super 11, the list of the top recruited senior football players on the Treasure Coast. TCPalm is counting down from No. 11 to No. 1, with two players announced per week. The No. 1 player will be revealed on Sunday, July 26.

PORT ST. LUCIE — Henry Pickens is ready. 

Ready to show that he's a top-flight cornerback who can take an opponent's top receiver out of the game. 

Ready to challenge St. Lucie West Centennial's record books for the most interceptions in a single season.

Ready to show colleges that he's the next big-time Eagles defensive back, joining recent signees such as Dwight Toombs (FAU) and Dre Grace (Navy). 

"He loves football and he’s a very savvy football player," Centennial coach Josh Watkins said. "He plays with great technique as a defensive back. He brings all those intangibles."

Maybe the biggest one of those intangibles is Picken's confidence.

"I want to show one of the best DBs in the area if not the best DB," he said. "You can’t be scared to get beat. You have to have confidence. That’s what my Pops always says. Jalen Ramsey’s never scared to be beat. The top corners you see are loose and confident on the field."

More Super 11:No. 11 Treasure Coast QB/ATH Turk Watkins

And make no mistake, Centennial's coaches believe Pickens can be a top cornerback this season. 

The 6-foot, 165-pound senior, ranked No. 10 on the TCPalm Super 11, will be tasked with shadowing the other teams' top receiver. Some teams have the cornerbacks stick to a certain side of the field and cover whoever lines up against them. That won't be the case for Pickens. 

"We play some tough receivers this year," Watkins said. "We’re just going to tell him, 'That’s your dude. Go lock him down.' And then you don't have to worry about him."

Not surprisingly, Pickens is looking forward to the challenge. 

"I love it," he said. "I love that they trust me playing that position and taking that wide receiver out of the game. I feel confident in fulfilling it."

Pickens showed flashes of what he could during the first half of the season in 2019. He recorded one interception and was playing well before having his season cut short by a suspension. 

Pickens was ejected against Lakeland in Week 7 when an official ruled that the cornerback threw a punch after a play, something Pickens and Centennial's coaches vehemently denied. The Eagles appealed Pickens' six-game suspension, but the Florida High School Athletic Association upheld the decision as neither team had film of the incident. 

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"It was unfortunate he lost those last games at the end of the season and then the playoff game," Watkins said. "That ultimately hurt us at the end. We’re excited to get him back."

Pickens came into the summer with one college offer, from Stetson. Despite his ideal height and ability, Pickens recruitment has been slowed by a lack of film at defensive back and receiver.

As has been the case for many players across the country, any hopes of impressing colleges during spring practices were dashed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"That hurt him," Watkins said. "We were really looking forward to the spring for him and then all this happened. He's a player. We're looking forward to getting him some film. He'll get some more offers."

Henry Pickens, St. Lucie West Centennial High School, defensive back

Henry Pickens

St. Lucie West Centennial CB

TCPalm Super 11 rank: 10

Height, weight: 6-foot, 165 pounds

2019 stats/honors: 1 interception 

Top offer: Stetson