Rumored for several months, Canton (Ohio) McKinley defensive end and ESPNU 150 member Se’Von Pittman finally ended the speculation and switched his verbal commitment to Ohio State from Michigan State on Monday night.
“I think it had to do with him being an Ohio guy his whole life, and when [the NCAA investigation] became stable, it picked up his interest again,” McKinley coach Ron Johnson said. “I think that gave him peace of mind.”
Pittman pledged to Michigan State in the summer, but it was rumored the Spartans may have been his third choice originally behind the Buckeyes and Michigan. However, looming NCAA sanctions and academics made the Spartans the best fit during that time.
Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who recruited Pittman, and coach Mark Dantonio had built a great relationship with Pittman, and Johnson said it wasn't for Pittman to tell them about his decision.
“It was very difficult for him because of the amount of respect he has for Dantonio and Narduzzi and the Michigan State program,” Johnson said. “… It’s certainly not anything that Michigan State didn’t do well or have.”
Pittman, ranked 100th in the country and third in Ohio, unofficially visited Ohio State during the season, though he maintained it was only to see his friend and former teammate Steve Miller. Once Urban Meyer was named coach, Pittman was one of his first calls, and this past weekend during an official visit he had a chance to sit down with Meyer, who followed this weekend’s visit with an in-home visit to Pittman’s on Monday.
Johnson called Meyer a “quality person” but didn’t pinpoint Meyer as the reason for the switch.
“I don’t know if it’s just one thing,” he said. “He’s been exposed to a lot of things to the places he’s visited, and Ohio State is a place he is very comfortable with. Him being an Ohio guy – that was the attraction.”
Pittman became the second ESPNU 150 defensive lineman to switch to the Buckeyes on Monday. Earlier in the day, Tommy Schutt, ranked 130th in the ESPNU 150, verbally committed to the Buckeyes after committing to Penn State in the summer. Pittman is the third ESPNU 150 commitment for the Buckeyes, and all three players are defensive lineman; Adolphus Washington is a defensive end ranked 75th in the country.
The Buckeyes might not be done grabbing ESPNU 150 defensive lineman either. Noah Spence, ranked No. 4 nationally, is visiting Ohio State on Saturday after his state title game this weekend. It is the only official visit Spence has set before his Jan. 5 decision date at the Under Armour Game. Two days later, ESPNU 150 defensive end/linebacker Ifeadi Odenigbo will announce, and the Buckeyes have an outside shot of landing the product from Centerville, Ohio, which has been a pipeline for the Buckeyes previously. Landing Odenigbo would give the Buckeyes the top three players in Ohio.