Posted: 4:37 pm Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Zachary Allen, Donnell Kirkwood and Fred Pickett commit 

By Jason Lieser

Updated July 13, 2009 at 10:08 a.m.
At least two of the area’s top 25 football players committed to colleges recently, and possibly a third.

Pahokee linebacker Zachary Allen was on the brink of announcing his commitment to Wake Forest toward the end of the school year, but canceled the news conference when teammate

Merrill “Bud” Noel wavered on his decision to make the same commitment. Noel wound up changing his mind and picking Florida State, but Allen held firm and recently gave Wake Forest an oral commitment.

“Zach and Bud were both real committed to Wake Forest but Bud had second thoughts,” Blue Devils coach Blaze Thompson said. “Zach didn’t.

“I tried to tell them they didn’t have to worry about it right now, but colleges are playing that pressure game so kids feel like they need to commit early.”

Allen (6-1, 210) is ranked the No. 11 player on The Big Board and had offers from Vanderbilt, Purdue and West Virginia, among others.

Another Pahokee senior, wide receiver Fred Pickett, has committed as well. It was reported by several media outlets (not this one) that Pickett committed to West Virginia in the spring, but he and Thompson shot down those rumors when contacted by The Post. In doing so, Pickett reiterated that West Virginia was his favorite and now it seems he has given the Mountaineers an oral commitment.

Pickett’s father called Thompson last month to tell him his son committed to West Virginia while visiting June 18, Thompson said. West Virginia confirmed to Thompson that the school did in fact received a commitment from Pickett.

Pickett (5-11, 170) is ranked No. 25 on The Big Board and has been expected to land at West Virginia for several months.

Over in Delray Beach, Atlantic running back Donnell Kirkwood chose Minnesota out of several quality offers. Kirkwood (5-9, 195) is ranked No. 24 on The Big Board and has drawn interest from Pittsburgh, Mississippi, Wake Forest and other schools.

Atlantic coach Andre Thaddies is a Minnesota alum and credited his alma mater for jumping on Kirkwood early in the recruiting process.