May 25, 2011

Tide makes the cut for Ohio DE

Canton, Ohio, defensive end Se'von Pittman narrowed his list of schools to five Wednesday and while the usual suspects - Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State - made the list, he also included SEC powers Alabama and Auburn among his finalists.

Pittman, a four-star prospect who is ranked No. 61 in the Rivals 100 rankings, isn't as familiar with the Crimson Tide program, but based on what he's seen and heard, he considers UA one of his favorites.

"I've heard great things about them, as far as their fans and how everybody down there loves Alabama," Pittman said. "I hear there are a lot of positive things going on down there. They also care a lot about academics, and that's one thing I'm really trying to focus on."

The 6-foot-5, 245-pound defensive end hasn't even met Alabama head coach Nick Saban yet, but he's already looking forward to getting that opportunity.

"Everything I hear about Nick Saban is (that) basically he's a competitor and likes to win, and everybody down there loves him," Pittman said. "I would love to have the chance to meet him and see what kind of a guy he is off the field."

He may get that chance to meet Saban this summer. Now that he's narrowed his list down, Pittman is in the process of setting up visits to each of his finalists and said he's planning a trip to Tuscaloosa in late July.

"When it comes to recruiting and choosing a school, I want to see how the campus is, how the people are and the academics, of course," Pittman said. "I just want to see if I can be comfortable there and if I can see myself playing there for four years."

With both Alabama and Auburn on his final list, location isn't as big of a factor for Pittman in his recruitment.

His head coach, Ron Johnson, believes he could go anywhere and thrive because of not only his play on the field but also his personality off the field.

"He's got the people skills that he could go and fit in anywhere," Johnson said. "I think that's going to be a family decision, ultimately, on just how far away he does want to get from his family, from his mother. They're very close.

"If he does choose to go away, he'll still be successful because he adapts quickly, makes friends quickly. He'll be fine."

Not surprisingly, the Ohio native grew up an Ohio State fan, but he realizes now there may be another school out there that's a better fit for him.

"Ohio State was the main school that everybody wanted me to go to and saw me playing there, and I saw myself playing there," Pittman said. "But as I grew up and matured, I've seen that maybe Ohio State is not the best move for me.

"That's the main thing I'm trying to do right now, is make the right move and see where I can really be part of the team and play where I can be comfortable at."

Pittman plans to make a decision during his senior season or maybe a little before that.

Reach Greg Ostendorf at [email protected]

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