Cincinnati has spent the last week or so on the field preparing for the 2015 regular season. After all, it is only 25 days away now, but in the meantime, the Bearcats continue to find success in the form of their 2016 recruiting class with yesterday's verbal commitment of three-star weak-side defensive end Michael Pitts.
Michael Pitts, a 3 star DE from Georgia, has committed to UC over other offers from Cal and ODU. He is Cincinnati's 14 commit for 2016.
— Tim Adams (@TimAdams918) August 10, 2015
Pitts, the 14th player for an already impressive 2016 class, is 6-foot-2 and weighs in at 232 pounds. A product of Stone Mountain, GA (Stephenson), Pitts also was fielding offers from Cal and Old Dominion. If you are curious about how a Georgia guy received only three offers and they were from schools in California, Virginia and Ohio, then welcome to the club. The good news is that players like this, who appeal highly to various (and random) schools, tend to be those with something to offer if viewed through the right lens. Watching game tape, Pitts seems to fit the bill.
Pitts has an 83 composite score (determined by compiling ratings from across the various recruiting networks) and is considered the 70th weak-side defensive end in the 2016 class. He is the 112th rated recruit from Georgia.
On the Field
Let me just say... Pitts is a fun guy to watch on tape. Now, he isn't a fleshed out player yet, but as a project, you see exactly what you want to see from the position. The first thing that jumps off the screen from his junior season is his speed. Off the line of scrimmage, he's fast. When pursuing the quarterback, he's fast. He is quick to attack and shows great lateral quickness for a defensive lineman. He also plays with great tenacity and is more than willing to throw his body around, which is nice to see jump off the screen.
Pitts does tend to stand up a bit straight, although he does a good job getting leverage as the edge rusher on other plays, showing that he needs to build more consistency rather than an entire skill-set.
At 232 pounds, he will need to add on size to see the field as a defensive end, but that speed and agility is the quick burst you need to see from quality, and even great, pass rushers. He flies around the field and seems to make plays with raw athleticism at this point in his development, but he is a prototypical project for the Cincinnati coaching staff to work with. He will likely sit for his freshman year (redshirt is likely) and then begin to see the field in passing situations as the coaches unleash his speed on opposing quarterbacks. As with any project player, long-term success is hard to predict, but when you watch Pitts on film, you see a player who terrorizes offense with raw athleticism. If Cincinnati and Pitts refine that raw talent, watch out.