- 30 tackles
- 9.5 tackles for loss
- 5.5 sacks
- 3 passes defended
- 3 pass breakups
- 2 quarterback hits/hurries
- 1 fumble recovery
Michael Pitts didn’t make any of the All-American Athletic Conference teams for the 2019 season and that’s a real shame. Even if he only started in eight games and his production waned down the stretch, he still managed to be one of the most effective pass rushers for the Cincinnati Bearcats.
This was nothing new for Pitts. He posted 7.5 tackles for loss and four sacks in 2018 while playing jack end. He stepped up his game in 2019 and set new personal bests in tackles for loss (9.5) and sacks (5.5). That sack total was higher than anyone else on the roster while he had to settle for the silver medal when it came to TFL, trailing Bryan Wright by four (13.5).
Pitts did take a dip when it came to his overall tackle total, producing 30 stops compared with 34 in 2018. However, considering how disruptive he was to opposing backfields, it is difficult to complain about such a slight regression in total tackles.
Since he was largely tasked with aggressively seeking out opposing quarterbacks and ball carriers out of the backfield, it was encouraging to see Pitts also make some plays in pass defense. He set a career-high of three passes defended and also broke up three passes. Add in a fumble recovery and some additional quarterback hits/hurries and you’ve got a pretty solid resume. It’s too bad it wasn’t enough to get more recognition from the rest of the league.
The Best of the Best
Aug. 29, 2019 vs. UCLA
Pitts got out to a quick start and recorded his first sack of the season against the Bruins. Overall, he tallied three total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one pass breakup.
Sept. 14, 2019 vs. Miami-Ohio
The RedHawks couldn’t stop Pitts, who racked up two sacks and five total tackles in the Battle for the Victory Bell.
Sept. 28, 2019 at Marshall
Pitts had yet another sack in this game, giving him four through the first four weeks of the season.
Oct. 4, 2019 vs. UCF
Pitts tacked on another 1.5 tackles for loss to his season total, but his biggest play was a fumble recovery in UCF territory that set up a UC touchdown.
Nov. 23, 2019 vs. Temple
Pitts didn’t start this game, but he still put up four tackles, including his final sack of the campaign.
For Next Year
Pitts is one of three players on the 2020 roster listed to play the jack end post. He is joined by Ethan Tucky and Blake Bacevich. Tucky and Pitts both produced solid numbers in 2019 and both will be needed to maintain that level at the very least. Obviously, it would be preferable if Pitts took another step forward and a larger one at that. Although the 2019 season was his best yet, Pitts will be asked to get even better next season and perhaps maintain a starting position from start to finish. If he accomplishes those goals, maybe he’ll get some of that league-wide attention.