by Jeremy Shapiro
USC commit and Oaks Christian (Calif.) wide receiver Michael Pittman continued his torrid start to the season on Friday against Venice, racking up 5 catches for 83 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception despite playing a little over one quarter. The Lions jumped out to a 35-0 lead early in the second quarter, prompting the coaching staff to take Pittman out of the game on offense to allow his teammates to get more opportunities. Pittman also had a weaving, 73-yard punt return touchdown in the first quarter that was negated due to a holding call.
Pittman, the son of retired NFL running back Michael Pittman who played the majority of his 11-year career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals, boasts a strong football pedigree. The dynamic 2016 USC pledge now has 26 catches, 523 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns throughout the first three games of the season.
-Pittman is a big target at 6-foot-4, 205-pounds, and can climb the ladder and high point the ball consistently.
-His ability to keep his balance and display flexibility on jump balls makes him a dangerous red zone threat.
-Not a quick-twitch athlete, but deceptively agile for his size.
-Physical receiver who uses his size to his advantage by boxing out defenders.
-Shows strong, sticky hands to snatch the football away from his frame.
-Tracks the deep ball very naturally over his outside shoulder.
-Has an extensive command of the route tree and thrives when working the middle of the field.
-Possesses fluid hips when reaching the top of his routes and crisp angles out of his breaks.
-Displays effort as a blocker, engaging with defenders and getting a powerful push at contact.
-The long-strider will eat up cushion against off-man coverage and has a propensity to get behind the defense.
-Shows an initial burst off the line, but takes time to work up to his top speed.
-Capable of moving well laterally with the ball and exhibiting creativity and vision as a runner.
Pittman possesses the size, hands and athletic ability to develop into a weapon for the Trojans once he gets acclimated to the improved level of competition.