Will Pickren leaves Hampden-Sydney, enters transfer portal

Published 4:20 am Thursday, December 7, 2023

Will Pickren is making a change. The Hampden-Sydney College senior, who was just named to the D3 All-Region First Team Defense, is entering the transfer portal. 

“Thank you, Hampden-Sydney, for everything,” Pickren wrote as part of a statement he released on Twitter Tuesday. “I have decided to enter the transfer portal with one year (of) eligibility remaining.” 

With the decision, Pickren becomes the first Hampden-Sydney Tiger this year to test college football’s transfer portal, aiming to finish his career at a D2 or D1 school. He finishes this season with a number of accolades, including being ranked 26th in tackles across all NCAA Division III. 

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Pickren started all 10 games this season and led the team with 99 total tackles, including 40 solo and 59 assisted. He also recorded 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions, four pass breakups, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and one blocked kick (punt). He had at least 10 tackles in six games, including a season-high 17 tackles vs. Bridgewater, finishing third in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) in tackles per game (9.9), fourth in total tackles and tied for seventh in interceptions.

“Will’s impact is almost hard to gauge,” said retiring Hampden-Sydney coach Marty Favret. “A standout player from day one, he held together our defense for four years. An all-time great who blossomed into being a terrific leader as well. Truly, one of my favorite players of all-time.”

More about Will Pickren

Pickren was also recently named the State Small College Defensive Back of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Richmond. A 2022 First Team AP Division III All-American, Pickren completed his time at Hampden-Sydney by securing the school’s record for most tackles at 366. He started 34 of his 35 games in college, also collecting seven interceptions, 22 defended passes, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and two blocked kicks. 

The senior team captain, who hails from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, had to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, in order to make the transfer work. That’s something only D3 players have to do when moving up. 

Other Tigers make All-Region team 

Two of Pickren’s teammates were also recognized this week. Kick returner Joseph Gonzalez made the All-Region Second Team Offense, while receiver Mason Cunningham made All-Region Third Team Offense. 

Gonzalez played in eight games this season and averaged 23.9 yards on 19 kick returns, including a long of 91 yards, and one touchdown. He had one of only three kickoff returns for a touchdown in the ODAC, and ranked third in kick return average. Gonzalez tied for 11th in Division III in kickoff return touchdowns (1) and ranked 43rd in kick return average.

Cunningham started all 10 games and had 79 receptions for 791 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He had three 100-yard receiving games, and led the ODAC in receptions, receptions per game (7.9), receiving yards and receiving yards per game (79.4), and tied for third in receiving touchdowns through the regular season. A recent First Team All-ODAC selection, Mason also averaged 5.6 yards on 10 punt returns, third-best in the ODAC, with a long return of 19 yards.