Matt Cashore /

Top junior talks ‘crazy’ environment

Junior defensive back Derrek Pitts zeroed in on the USC game for a visit to Notre Dame. Turns out the environment lived up to his expectations during a trip that included talking with Todd Lyght.

Derrek Pitts heard enough about Notre Dame to schedule a visit.

Pitts, a junior defensive back from Charleston, W.V., picked up some information from a family friend who is a Notre Dame graduate. He added to that by doing some of his own research. That’s how he zeroed in on visiting South Bend for the USC game.

“My mom has a friend and he’s an alum from Notre Dame,” Pitts said. “He talked to us about it and I just did a lot of research on them. I wanted to get down to the USC game knowing the history of it.”

What Pitts witnessed in watching the Irish rally for a 41-31 victory over USC lived up to his expectations. Pitts came to realize being a visiting recruit means extra eyes too. 

“The environment is crazy,” Pitts said. “Where I was sitting, there were people that I guess know who we were. They were yelling my name and telling us it was the place to be … I was just having fun with the fans also.”

Pitts made the drive in from Charleston and stayed overnight an hour outside South Bend. He hit the road Sunday morning instead of returning to campus.

That schedule prevented a follow-up meeting with defensive backs coach Todd Lyght. He and Pitts touched base Saturday before kickoff to get acquainted and set up a recruitment that is likely to become more involved from this point.

Lyght highlighted some things he likes about the 6-foot-3, 190-pound prospect.

“I got to talk to coach Lyght,” Pitts said. “He wanted me come back to his office (Sunday) morning but we had to get right on the road. He told me that he liked my ball skills and that I play so fast. I get to the ball carrier quick.”

Notre Dame could be moving toward a scholarship offer.

Auburn, Clemson, Louisville, Maryland, Nebraska, N.C. State, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and West Virginia have already offered.

“We talked a little bit about that,” Pitts said. “They want to do it as soon as possible. They had a lot of people on official visits, so they were focused on that. They just want to get them down and then try to inform me.”

Pitts will continue his evaluation process as the Irish do their due diligence. He watched closely during the game as the Notre Dame secondary forced a couple interceptions.

“When they took the field during the game I watched my position,” Pitts said. “I saw Notre Dame, the whole secondary was on point (Saturday). That just stood out to me. That shows me they’re well coached. When Notre Dame was on offense, that’s when I became a fan that was just at the game.”

Next up is a visit to Maryland as Pitts looks to narrow down the list soon.

“At the end of this football season I should have a top five or eight,” he said. Top Stories