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Planning for what comes after Drew Brown, the Huskers locked up a commitment late Tuesday night from one of the most highly regarded kicker recruits in the country.

Barret Pickering, out of Hoover High School in Birmingham, Alabama, announced his plans to kick at Nebraska over Vanderbilt. Pickering is ranked No. 2 nationally among all kickers by Kohl's Kicking.

"I knew about the rich history of the specialists at Nebraska. I just wanted to join in that legacy hopefully," Pickering told the Journal Star shortly after making his announcement on Twitter.

In explaining his decision on social media, Pickering noted that "I want to be a part of something special and greater than me."

As a junior in high school last fall, Pickering made 19-of-27 field goal attempts, with a long of 49 yards. He was successful on all of his 49 extra-point tries and produced touchbacks on 66 of 79 efforts.

The 6-foot, 175-pound Pickering began kicking in middle school, he said, after playing soccer growing up. "I didn't really get serious about kicking until sophomore year of high school."

Now he's serious about being Nebraska's main man at the position starting in 2018. The opportunity was something Husker head coach Mike Riley made clear in recruiting him.

"They told me I was their guy," Pickering said.

The Kohl's Kicking website offers this breakdown of Pickering: He is a smooth field goal kicker who hits clean rotation and has great command of his ball flight. Focus this winter and spring will be on his leg strength and hang time on KO's but he showed well at the nation's premier gathering of talent. His elite coordination allows him to shows flashes of great punting ability as well.

Pickering is also ranked 29th among punters in the 2018 class, but expects place-kicking to be his priority when he arrives to Lincoln. Husker scholarship punter Caleb Lightbourn is only a sophomore.

Nebraska has long had reliable place-kickers. Kris Brown, Josh Brown, Alex Henery and Brett Maher are among those who have left NU to have NFL opportunities within the last 20 years.

The present looks good too. Drew Brown nailed 12-of-14 field goal attempts a season ago. He will be a senior in 2017, however.

While Lightbourn could also be a strong option on kickoffs after Brown graduates, he said himself in the spring he didn't see place-kicking being part of his future duties.

The Huskers do have a walk-on kicker option joining the program in Cole Frahm of Omaha Burke. But Pickering's announcement should further bolster faith in that position going forward, even if it does take a spot in a recruiting class that has limited space.

Pickering now gives NU nine known commitments in the 2018 class.

Ask the newest commit to tell you his favorite kick of his career? Apparently the one that comes next. "I really don't have a favorite moment. I like playing in every game honestly."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7439 or bchristopherson@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.

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