Insiders with access to reliable information have been implying for some time now that the Buckeyes are close to offering Antonio Pittman, and that Antonio would likely accept if offered. Since Mr. Bucknuts is not often privy to such reliable information, I did the next best thing: I asked Pittman's head coach, Claude Brown.
Just as background, before we traffic in real information…Antonio Pittman is one of the best 4-5 running backs in a suddenly talent-rich state of Ohio. Antonio rushed for 2300+ yards last year as the main man in the Akron Buchtel attack. He also scored 25 touchdowns.
I contacted Claude Brown and asked about those persistent reports that the Buckeyes were high on Antonio and asked as well how Antonio felt about Ohio State. Rumors have been running rampant that the OSU coaching staff considers Pittman as the #1 back in Ohio.
So? To get to second question first…Coach Brown said, "If Ohio State offers, Antonio is done with recruiting." And how close is Ohio State to offering? I could hear a smile in the coach's voice. "I just sent down the academic stuff today. A number of the coaches were at a funeral and Coach Bollman said they would get right back to us once they returned tomorrow (Tuesday)."
I asked Brown just how good he thinks Pittman is and how good he could be. "I coached Cie Grant in New Philadelphia and I thought Cie was a great athlete," answered Coach Brown. "Antonio Pittman is better." The best you have ever seen? "Well, Ramon Walker played here and he's playing in the NFL now so that's a pretty strong statement, but probably yes."
What is it that makes Antonio so special? "That's easy," he said. "His vision – particularly on backside – is amazing. When you combine that with his unusual quickness, well…I thought I would never see a quicker back than Tim Murphy when he was here (now plays at Pitt…) but Murphy couldn't hold Antonio's jock." And Coach said to quote him on that!
How big is Pittman and what weight will he play at on the next level? "Right now, he's 6'0" tall and weighs 198 pounds. He will fill in to 210 or so in college. He could probably play free safety – he's certainly athletic enough. But he is a tailback. He will be someone's starting tailback."
But, Coach, we hear so much about the other great backs in Ohio this year: Delbert Ferguson, Gary Russell, Ray Williams and Pernell Williams, to name a few. Coach laughed. "We play Warren Harding and Ferguson in our third game this year and we're definitely pointing for them. Which is tough since we open with Massillon!"
To fully flush out the information and background on Antonio, we have made arrangements to interview him on the Bucknuts Radio Hour. But by then – who knows?