Joseph Wicker is one of the top defensive linemen in the 2015 class and is starting to see his recruitment really pick up.
Wicker is a product of Long Beach Polytechnic (Calif.) High School. At 6'4 and 260 pounds already, Wicker possesses a large frame and should only continue getting stronger as he continues to develop in the weight room. He also reportedly ran a 4.9 40-yard dash this past season.
Wicker is a consensus four-star recruit and is hearing from schools all over the country. He holds scholarship offers to Arizona, Arizona State, Miami, Notre Dame, UCLA and Washington, among others. Wicker originally committed to Washington but decided to reopen his options.
Scout thinks highest of the defensive tackle, ranking him 141st nationally in the 2015 class. ESPN also has him at No. 176 in their latest rankings. 24/7 Sports' composite, which tallies the rankings from a variety of sources, lists Wicker as the 177th best player.
Scouting by Derrell Warren, West Coast Recruiting Analyst (@yssd):
Wicker is a very versatile defensive line recruit. His frame and baseline skill-set suggest enough scheme versatility for him to bulk up a bit and play three technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 alignment, or the five technique defensive tackle in a 3-4 defense.
While not necessarily freakish, Wicker carries good athleticism for a player of his size. He coils up in a tight, athletic stance and shows good off the ball quickness.
On film, most opposing offenses run plays designed to go away from Wicker. Therefore, you really don’t get to see him get as many reps setting the edge as you would like. He exhibits a very good motor, however. He’s show great effort in backside pursuit, ranging out of his area to corral ball carriers.
From a pass rushing perspective, Wicker is more of a straight-lined rusher who will collapse the edge. He’s shows nice burst, but isn’t an overly bendy athlete and won’t consistently win the edge by dipping his shoulder around offensive linemen.
An area would Wicker could improve is by flashing quicker and more active hands. He’s an effective bull rusher with heavy hands. That said, he isn’t the longest player and carries his hands a bit low leaving his upper body exposed. Coming off the ball, I'd like to see him make first contact more consistently to better control the distance in tight spaces between bigger and longer offensive lineman.
Wicker is more of a power/leverage rusher with agility. Often times, he’ll take an inside speed rush to shorten the distance between him and the quarterback, showing nice burst through the gap.
A few times on tape you’ll see Wicker start off with outside rush. But, he likes to work back inside as a counter off the initial outside move. He has good lower body strength and keeps his balance and momentum through contact.