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HOUSTON - Since Kasidi Pickering was four years old she has put the work in on the softball diamond.
On Friday, that work paid off as the Atascocita junior verbally committed to defending National Champion Oklahoma to continue her softball career.
"I'm excited I want to win so I know I will have the opportunity to do it," Pickering said. "The home feeling on campus and everything about the program and the people [is what sold me]."
Atascocita coach Ashley Boyd added: "[Kasidi] is an unbelievably gifted player with an insane softball IQ and worth ethic. Anytime we have an athlete commit to play and further their education, it's huge. To have a player commit to the top team in the country is incredibly exciting and a testament to how hard she has worked to get herself to this point. I know the rest of our program is excited for her and as a coaching staff, we couldn't be more proud of her."
Boomer sooner I would like to thank all hotshots coaches and players I've played with who have gotten me to where I am today. Happily like to announce my commitment to the University of Oklahoma to continue my softball career and education.♥️♥️ pic.twitter.com/qUytKDN4rk— Kasidi Pickering (@PickeringKasidi) September 24, 2021
According to Extra Innings Softball, Pickering is the No. 4 overall player in the country in the Class of 2023 and the No. 2 outfielder in the country.
Pickering is coming off a breakout sophomore season for the Lady Eagles.
The 2023 prospect finished the season being named the District 21-6A MVP after hitting .500 in 102 plate appearances with 10 home runs, eight doubles and five triples with 27 RBIs. Pickering also had 10 stolen bases and was 2-0 in five appearances in the circle with a 1.58 ERA and 21 strikeouts.
As Pickering took the time to look forward to her collegiate future on Friday, it also allowed her time to reflect on all the people who have gotten her to this point.
"[I want to thank] every person in the Hotshots organization and my parents for the opportunity to be where I am," Pickering, whose favorite softball memory is winning PGF three times and any memory with her teammates, said.
Another exciting detail in picking Oklahoma, which has won five National Championships and made 14 Women's College World Series appearances, is that by the time she steps on campus as a Sooner they will either be almost in or already playing in the Southeastern Conference - which has produced three National Champs since 2012.
"I will be playing against a lot of my former teammates!," Pickering said.
| @AHS_Softball_ HC Ashley Boyd to VYPE in a text on new @OU_Softball (Reigning National Champs) commit @PickeringKasidi | BTW OU has 5 National Championships & just added Pickering who is No. 4 overall prospect for Class of 2023 & No. 2 Outfielder in Nation by @ExtraInningSB pic.twitter.com/iegxR55qaC— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) September 24, 2021
From the dinosaurs to Blockbuster video, things just become extinct.
Home telephones? Heck, cable television has virtually ran its course.
So, what is next on the endangered species' list?
The 5-Star Athlete will be extinct in a matter of months.
Football's Big-Ticket, Game-Breakers will be a thing of the past in 2022. No, not a meteor shower or the advent of new technology, but the ruling of Name, Imagine and Likeness, where college athletes can cash in on themselves where they see fit.
Great, cool, awesome. Long overdue for college athletes, but the NCAA has made the roll-out messier than an LA Freeway virtually any time of day.
The repercussions of NIL have seeped into high school sports as I've predicted.
This is basically Global Warming for high school athletics. There won't be a slow erosion of superstars leaving the locker rooms and weight rooms across Texas, but an avalanche of Blue Chip athletes falling into the abyss of NIL. SPLASH.
Southlake Carroll's Quin Ewers was first to test the waters, bringing this topic to the UIL, which deferred to the Texas Legislature. Ok, cool. Their hands are tied, I get it.
Ewers couldn't get paid in high school, so off to Ohio State and greener artificial turf pastures await him.
He was the No. 1 player in Texas. Poof… gone.
Hightower super-hooper and senior-to-be Bryce Griggs couldn't make money as a high school student… poof off to Overtime Elite where he will get paid… we think. No more Hurricane state title dreams as H-Town is in his rearview mirror.
FB Bush junior Tyler Smith gets a national-ranking and… bye, off to Overtime Elite. He will forego TWO years of making memories inside the Hopson Field House. He just would have been a junior.
While Klein Cain star Jaydon Blue's circumstance is a little different, highly-coveted athletes will follow his lead. Blue committed to the University of Texas and has chosen to by-pass his senior year to prepare for his future as a Longhorn. He should be an early-enrollee in January.
Those are the outliers right now, however, they are also the pioneers that so many will follow.
For now high school fans, enjoy the likes of Bridgeland's Conner Weigman -- an Elite 11 QB -- still weaving his magic at the high school level before he early enrolls with the Aggies in January.
If North Shore 5-Star Denver Harris (currently the No. 1 player in Texas) comes back from an ACL injury to play ball this year, he certainly be the last of his kind. Big-time stones if he does come back.
The Bishop Davenport's of Spring, Harold Perkins' of Cy Park and Kam Dewberry's of Atascocita – all extinct in the near future.
So, what stops this disappearance of future stars?
Open up the NIL floodgates in Texas. It will be messy at first, but order will follow.
It gives the optics of a level playing field to all athletes… not just football, basketball and baseball stars but also female student-athletes. They usually get left out of this conversation all together.
Do you think Lululemon wouldn't sponsor Ally Batenhorst of Seven Lakes, the National Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year? What about former Barbers Hill star Charli Collier being an ambassador for who else… Charming Charlies?
This could be a slippery slope, but it can't be any worse than the alternative.