Canton Defensive End Se'Von Pittman Latest to Commit to Urban Meyer
By Tony Gerdeman
On the heels of five-star defensive tackle Tommy Schutt's commitment last night came news that yet another defensive lineman was clamoring to join the fold.
Scout's Bill Greene was the first to report the news via Twitter that Canton McKinley defensive end Se'Von Pittman had verbally committed to the Buckeyes on Monday evening as well. Like Schutt, his commitment came soon after his official visit to Ohio State had ended.
Pittman (6-5 245) is a four-star prospect according to Rivals, and is their eighth-ranked defensive end in the nation. He is also listed as their 81st-ranked overall prospect in the class of 2012.
A Michigan State commitment since June, there had been signs over the past few months that Pittman might be available to the Buckeyes if the situation was right.
For instance, he showed up on an unofficial visit for Ohio State's game against Colorado, which means that he covered his own costs to the game, save for the free ticket.
Prior to the game, co-defensive coordinator Jim Heacock was seen talking to Pittman, as was Ohio State University president E. Gordon Gee. From that point on, Michigan State was right to be nervous about keeping one of the prized pieces of their recruiting class.
Pittman had actually started professing his desire to be a Buckeye prior to his junior season, but the resignation of Jim Tressel changed things for him. Luke Fickell did what he could to keep Pittman thinking about Ohio State, however, and Urban Meyer put it over the top for him.
But it wasn't just Meyer that he was committing to, because Ohio State is a program that Pittman had grown comfortable with long before his arrival. It also certainly didn't hurt that he had a former teammate playing for the Buckeyes in freshman defensive end Steve Miller. In fact, don't underestimate Miller's path in Pittman's decision. He has long viewed the current Buckeye as a bit of a mentor.
"I just want to be a leader for the younger players this season," Pittman told ESPN prior to his senior football season.
"Actually more than a leader, I want to be a role model to them the way Steve was to me. Hopefully we'll win a lot of games and challenge for state but I want to pave the way for the next group of players the way Steve helped do it for me."
Apparently the path that Miller and Pittman have now paved spans 130 miles in a southwesterly direction and ends at the Ohio Stadium rotunda.
Rivals ranks Pittman as the third-best prospect in the state of Ohio, behind fellow committed defensive end Adolphus Washington, and Michigan commit Kyle Kalis.
Pittman, who also played basketball at McKinley, chose Ohio State over Alabama, Auburn, Michigan, Florida, Notre Dame, Florida State, Tennessee, and Michigan State.
A first-team All Ohio pick as a junior and senior, Pittman originally projected as a perfect fit in the hybrid linebacker/defensive end "Leo" role for Jim Tressel's Buckeyes. Now, however, he simply projects as a Buckeye. They'll see where he fits best, and put him in a position to excel.
"Se'von is the type of player that could be 250 pounds and be a devastating linebacker in a 3-4 alignment, or he can become a 285- to 290-pound defensive lineman and do damage anywhere on the line," McKinley coach Ron Johnson told ESPN prior to this season.
"His potential is unlimited. He plays the game with real bad intentions. He's a great young man and he's a funny guy to hang around with, but when he's on the field it's all business."
Pittman's pledge now gives the Buckeyes three defensive line commitments in the 2012 class, but they would also love to have Pennsylvania's Noah Spence, who makes his official visit next weekend.
Scout ranks Spence as the top defensive end in the entire 2012 class, and given the lack of pass-rushing production from the Buckeyes in 2011, they are looking for as much help as they can get.
Ohio State now has 18 commitments with room for approximately five more. With hopes of landing a couple of offensive tackles in Jordan Diamond (Chicago, IL) and Kyle Dodson (Cleveland, OH), this class gets closer and closer to being full.
Se'Von Pittman - Canton, OH - DE (6-5 245)
Scout: 4-star DE; 9th-ranked DE; 55th-ranked prospect overall
Rivals: 4-star DE; 8th-ranked DE; 81st-ranked prospect overall
ESPN: 4-star DE; 14th-ranked DE; 100th-ranked prospect overall
24/7 Sports: 4-star DE; 13th-ranked WDE; 163rd-ranked prospect overall
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