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Why Karlyn Pickens Chose Tennessee

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(Photo from Karlyn Pickens' Twitter)

Karlyn Pickens, SA's No. 8 recruit in the 2022 class, will begin her college softball career at Tennessee this fall. Pickens is a North Carolina native who played travel ball for South Carolina Elite. She is a tall, hard-throwing right-hander who regularly hits 70 miles per hour while standing 6-foot-1.

SA caught up with Pickens about why she chose the Vols, what her recruiting process was like and plenty more.

Softball America: Why did you decide to commit to Tennessee?

Karlyn Pickens: I decided to commit to UT because of the family environment, their amazing softball and athletics program and the short drive away from home. I wanted to go to a school that I could picture myself calling home for the next four years, and UT checked all those boxes.

SA: What was your recruiting process like?

KP: For me, my recruiting process was very fun. It was so cool at a young age getting to visit and go to camps of so many amazing colleges. I knew that I wanted to wait until I was older to commit to a program rather than decide early, and I’m so glad I did. I was able to enjoy my travel softball career and make the best decision for myself when the time came, and I found the right fit.

SA: At what age did you start playing softball and why did you continue to play?

KP: I started playing softball when I was eight years old. When I was younger, I always played t-ball with my brother growing up. I think that motivated me to continue playing because I was competitive at a very young age. I always had a love for sports and softball was where my true passion was.

SA: How did your travel ball experience impact you and your recruiting?

KP: Playing with South Carolina Elite was the best decision my family and I could have made for me. I’m so thankful for the coaches who mentored and guided me throughout my travel ball career and helped me get recruited to find my perfect fit. I couldn’t be more lucky to have had the coaches that I did, they helped make this process less stressful and worked so hard for everyone on our team to get recruited.

SA: How did playing high school softball shape you and impact your recruiting?

KP: Playing softball at North Buncombe this past year was truly one for the books. The connection that our team had and the hard work that we put into the season to get us all the way to State was amazing. If there’s anything I remember about this past season, it’s how much fun we had. Not only were we competing and winning, but we were also having fun. If we were together, we were definitely laughing, and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to end my high school career with.

SA: What are you looking forward to most when you get to Tennessee, both academically and athletically?

KP: I’m looking forward to pushing myself to be better on the field, and get stronger in the weight room and in the classroom. As of right now, I want to be a sports broadcaster, and I’m excited to start learning about that.

SA: Who are the most important people in your softball journey?

KP: I would have to say my parents. They have made so many sacrifices to allow me to pursue my dream of playing college softball and always pushed me to be my best. They took me to practice, tournaments, pitching lessons, camps and so much more, and I wouldn't be where I am today without their help. I couldn't be more thankful for that.

SA: Do you have any tips for players currently getting recruited?

KP: If I could give any advice, it would be to never be satisfied, keep working to get better and have fun. Remember the reason you started playing and enjoy it.

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