For the record, the first name is pronounced Duh-REEK. Penn State fans better get used to it, because late Wednesday afternoon South Charleston, W.Va., safety Derrek Pitts committed to the Nittany Lions.
Pitts had narrowed his list to 10 schools. But most experts felt it was a two-team race between Penn State and West Virginia. And they were right.
Pitts visited Happy Valley for the Lasch Bash earlier this month and then checked our Morgantown. By all accounts, he enjoyed both visits.
"There were a lot of factors [in making Penn State the choice],” Pitts told our sister site, Blue Gold News. "I made a lot of visits this summer, and I was getting a lot of different vibes from different schools. We made the two last visits to Penn State and West Virginia, and those were where I really wanted to go. My family went with me. We had a lot of attention at WVU but I felt more comfortable about Penn State."
The 6-foot-1, 173-pounder is the 11th member of James Franklin's Class of 2017, and the third who plays safety in high school.
There were mixed reaction during Pitts announcement in South Charleston, as some folks clearly wanted him to play his college ball closer to home.
Check out the video clip from BGN above.
"I made my decision last night," Pitts said. "I had to make the best choice for me and my family. If some people can't understand that, then they don't want what's the best for me. I didn't feel any weight on me about the decision. I feel good about it."
Meanwhile, here is a scouting report on Pitts from South Charleston High coach Donnie Mayes:
"His heart is set on playing safety, that stud position, where he can play strong safety or free safety, or whatever they call it. That's why he is so highly recruited. A lot of kids are recruited to play run defense, and then they will bring in a nickel guy to defend the pass, but Derrek worked so hard at getting his hips right, his speed right, so he can cover the pass. He can already defend the run.
"He's the type of kid that is an every down player. You don't have to pull him off the field. He can defend the run. He can defend the pass. It does not matter, and that's a very versatile thing. There are not a lot of kids who can do that. He can stand up there and if they do hand off the football, he'll fly up there because he's pretty fast and he'll be in on the play. And if they decide to throw, he's fast enough to cover whoever the receiver is. He went against multiple big-time recruits in a bunch of camps and he was outstanding."null