Getting the skinny on Aziz Shittu

Veni, vidi, vici. I came, I saw, I conquered. Aziz Shittu may not speak Latin, but he certainly lived in the spirit of that statement at USC's Nike Training Camp this past weekend

At the camp, Aziz Shittu took home's MVP award, as well as the camp's defensive line MVP award.

"There were some pretty good guys there," Aziz Shittu said. "Probably about 200 guys there.

"It felt good to win MVP," he said. "I set that goal when I registered: I want to get out there and show out. I guess I showed out."

The camp was a full day of training, drills and individual battles.

"We did SPARQ training for the first hour or two, just working on how to get faster, and then we did position drills and one-on-one," he said. "The one-on-one is definitely my favorite part."

One on one, football becomes a test of determination and drive. It is there, Shittu explains, that the pure competitor in him feels most at home.

"One-on-one especially, it's just a battle of wills, who wants it more," he said. "It's effort, having a better motor than the other guy. When the other guy's as talented, that's what going to work for you. It's just knowing that when you take off a day, another guy is getting better, so it's keeping your nose to the grindstone and keeping working."

Of course, the flip side to pure desire is technique, and Shittu made sure to brush up on his footwork and handwork too.

"I always stressed my hands and pride myself on using them," he said. "I don't let him touch my chest. If he touches my chest, it's over, so it's using your hands, your feet. It was good coaching there. It's the same thing every DL coach says: using the hands, getting skinny, having fluid hips."

Getting skinny doesn't refer to Shittu's 6-foot-3, 275-pound frame, but rather twisting your body when pass rushing to present the opposing offensive lineman with less of your frame to block.

Getting skinny also doesn't refer to Shittu's offer list, which now stands at 15, with Utah the latest addition this past Friday. Shittu also suspects more offers may be around the corner.

"USC probably," Shittu said of anticipated pending offers. "I should get some more after the [Nike Camp] performance."

Otherwise, the recruiting period is, frankly, in a bit of a lull.

"It's been kind of dead for a little bit," he said. "There are the usual guys I give calls to weekly: Coach Hart, a coach at USC, a coach at UCLA, Washington. Just the usual rounds, just to stay in touch, just checking out how things are going and where I'll come in on defense, good old stuff."

Shittu makes sure not to name a leader per se, and we'll follow his nomenclature here at The Bootleg, but Stanford appears, ahem, uniquely positioned among Shittu's potential suitors.

"Stanford's still up there in the top seven, that's a good thing," he said. "The rest [of the top seven] – I don't have any of the spots filled in. Stanford has stood out to me, but the rest I'm still figuring out, and I'll go from there.

"Right now, the plan is to visit the Pacific Northwest, Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, over spring break with a teammate," he said. "I'll probably try to get another one in May."

Spring ball at Shittu's Buhach Colony High School starts in May as well, so perhaps Shittu is in the eye of the metaphorical storm of senior year football and big-time college football recruiting that last until next February. The Bootleg will be there every step of the way, and we hope you will too!

Ed Note: Following the Nike Training Camp, Shittu picked up an offer from USC, bringing his total to 16. Recent recruiting rankings put out by validate Shittu's legitimacy as an elite prospect – he was ranked No 50 in the first edition of the Scout 300. It's easy to see why the talented lineman is such a priority for Stanford.

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