Aug. 16, 2012
Wide Receiver (1989-91)
Carl Pickens was a staple in the Vols' offense during his three seasons at Rocky Top and earned national recognition his junior year with an All-America nod in 1991.
Pickens caught 49 passes for 817 yards during his junior campaign for an average of 17.9 yards per catch. His 79.73 receiving yards per game led the SEC.
Quarterback Andy Kelly hooked up with Pickens for an 87-yard touchdown against Auburn which was the longest pass play in school history at the time. His numbers the previous year, however, were even better when he had 53 catches for 917 yards as he led the Vols in receptions and yards both seasons. He played both ways in 1989, recording four interceptions in four games at free safety and was named the Defensive MVP of the 1990 Cotton Bowl.
Pickens was the No.1 draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1992 NFL Draft after deciding to bypass his senior campaign at UT. He would go on to be named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press that year before setting Bengals' single-season records for both receptions (99) and touchdown catches (17) in 1995. Pickens later surpassed his own record by recording 100 receptions in 1996.
In his nine NFL seasons, Pickens recorded 540 receptions for 7,129 yards and 63 touchdowns, earning Pro-Bowl selections in 1995 and 1996. His 63 touchdown receptions were a franchise record until surpassed by Chad Johnson in 2010.
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