South Carolina got more good news on the recruiting front this evening when 2015 consensus four-star LB Sherrod Pittman (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) committed to the Gamecocks. Pittman chose Carolina over a whos-who of college programs that included Florida, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Miami, Ohio State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Our primary competition in this one was Florida. At 6'1/215, Pittman certainly has the physical look of a really promising WILL LB.
Pittman played high-school ball at the same school (a well-known D1 talent mill) as former Carolina LB Shaq Wilson. After completing his eligibility last year, Wilson joined the Gamecocks coaching staff as a graduate assistant, and the connection paid off with Pittman, who enjoys a good relationship with Wilson. I'm excited about Wilson as a member of our coaching staff. He was reputed to have a very high football IQ as a player (Ellis Johnson referred to him as the "QB of the defense"), and he looks like he can help us on the recruiting trail, too. Steve Spurrier, Jr., was Pittman's primary recruiter and also built a great relationship with the prospect, as well as the coaches at First Coast.
There's been some speculation on the Florida side that Pittman wants to go to Florida but that Muschamp's staff wasn't ready to take a commitment from him. That's certainly possible, as the Gators have some highly regarded linebackers on their board; Florida is, needless to say, a school that can afford to be extremely selective. That said, I'm a bit skeptical of the report. If Florida offered Pittman and then told him they weren't ready to take him when he was ready to commit, they could have done damage to their brand at one of their state's more prolific talent factories. It's doubtful that even a program like Florida would have the guts to do that. It sounds a little like when the Clemson recruiting media says that Clemson has lost interest in recruits that are reported to be preparing to commit to Carolina, although perhaps a bit more believable in this case considering Florida's stature as a program. That's not to say that this one is over. If Florida wants him badly enough, they'll put on the full press, and obviously they have a strong program to sell him. Hopefully, our staff will be able to keep Pittman in the fold, because he's another great piece in what's shaping up to be one of the best recruiting hauls in the nation in 2015.