Why sophomore Emile Picarella got Ole Miss football, Mississippi State recruiting offers

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MADISON — Emile Picarella already has adjusted to high expectations. The St. Joseph Catholic (Madison) quarterback received an offer from Oregon and former offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead before his freshman season with the Bruins.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Picarella backed up the early hype with an impressive season with 2,126 passing yards and 20 TDs.  Picarella received offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Oklahoma State in the offseason. However, the sophomore was more focused on improving St. Joseph’s 4-7 record than his recruitment.

“I don’t even pay attention to it because I’m just worried about making the right read,” Picarella said. “I don’t really focus on that. I try to stay locked in during practice, know what they do and try to execute on it.

“My main goal is winning. I really don’t have set goals because if we win that means all the team played well and we all played together. That's really the big thing for me.”

St. Joe QB Emille Picarella tries to find his receiver before getting tackled by Copiah Academyin Madison, Miss., Friday, Aug. 19, 2022.
St. Joe QB Emille Picarella tries to find his receiver before getting tackled by Copiah Academyin Madison, Miss., Friday, Aug. 19, 2022.

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The first test for the Bruins came in their season-opener against Copiah Academy — last season’s MAIS Class 5A runner-up. Picarella showed flashes as St. Joseph dealt with offensive line injuries, losing its starting center early in the first quarter. Picarella went 14-for-17 with 170 yards in the 28-7 loss to the Colonels.

“He took some hits tonight and jumped back up,” Bruins coach Jason Moore said. “He showed a lot of poise under pressure, kept his cool and still tried to make the reads and make the throws.”

Picarella’s physical tools — the ones that have caught the eye of in-state coaches Lane Kiffin and Mike Leach — were on display. His poise and ability to move in the pocket stands out, along with his strong arm.

“I’ve been around him since junior high and he just plays older than what he really is,” Moore said. “He has the poise and the character. He doesn't get too high and too low. He’s always in command of the situation.

“He passes the eye test. He’s 6-foot-2 and probably about 200 pounds. Not only a strong arm, an accurate arm. He can make the throws. He can make pretty much every throw there is.”

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Picarella’s recruitment continued to expand over the summer, starting with an offer from Ole Miss in March followed by Pittsburgh and Mississippi State in June and Oklahoma State in July. The in-state offers have an added meaning to Picarella.

“My head was spinning,” Picarella said. “I was just excited because it’s always a dream to get attention from your home state. I’m in their backyard basically. It was a big deal for me because I like representing Mississippi when I go to camps.

“I want to be the one to stand out in Mississippi.”

Picarella was outdueled by Copiah Academy’s Wyatt Albright on Friday. The senior finished with 41 passing yards, 109 rushing yards and three TDs in the win. However, Moore believes it would be an entirely different game if the two programs meet in the MAIS playoffs.

“We had a lot of missed tackles tonight,” Moore said. “A lot of missed tackles in the backfield and for no gain. It’s something to be fixed and to work on. Hopefully, we will see this team again in the playoffs and by the time we get to that point in the season we’ll look totally different.”

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Ole Miss football, Mississippi State among Emile Picarella offers