Coach Spotlight: Aziz Shittu

Pac-10 schools USC, Stanford, Cal, and Oregon have enjoyed recent recruiting success in states with SEC colleges. Turnabout is fair play. Some of the SEC schools are hoping to land a few of the talented West Coast players in 2012. Aziz Shittu, a defensive lineman from Atwater-Buhach Colony, Calif., has received offers from Pac-10 schools and was recently offered by the University of Tennessee.

"Aziz had a fantastic junior season," said Buhach Colony head coach Kevin Swartwood. "He moves well, very athletic and strong, and doesn't stay blocked. He has a real knack for reading the play, staying with it, and coming up with a big tackle. Very aggressive with a good motor."

Shittu, 6-3, 275, made 76 tackles in his junior season with six and a half sacks, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. He was named Defensive Player of the Year in the Central California Conference and received honorable mention All-State. His team, the Thunder, went 12-1 on the season falling to Folsom High School, the eventual CIF Division II State Champs, in the semifinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section.

"As a sophomore Aziz played on the JV team due to some issues he's since taken care of," said Swartwood. "He did every thing I asked of him to resolve that, and this year he's doing great. After the season we sent film to colleges, and I guess they liked what they saw out of him because he's received a ton of offers. He hasn't verbally accepted any yet. I think he's enjoying it and will take his time in deciding."

San Jose State was the first school to offer Shittu in January of 2011. In February, soon after Signing Day, offers came in from all of the Pac-10 schools with the exception of Cal, Michigan, Iowa State, and Boise State.

"He plays defensive end for us, but I think he'll be a 3-technique or nose guard in college," said Swartwood. "We're expecting big things from Aziz as a senior. He's been working on his quickness, agility, trying to increase his size and speed and spending a lot of time in the weight room."

Shittu has only been to two colleges on visits thus far, Southern Cal and Stanford. He's still planning trips, so if he makes it to Knoxville this spring or in the fall remains to be seen.

"He's a great person," Swartwood said of Shittu. "We laugh. He has a great sense of humor and is a lot of fun to have around. He's also an excellent student and is enrolled in college preparatory classes and doing very well."

Swartwood says about half of his starters are returning in the fall for the 2011 season. One of those is highly regarded offensive lineman Matt Cochran, 6-3, 340. Cochran has offers from San Jose State, Washington State, and Oregon State. Swartwood calls Cochran a "great center."

Aziz Shittu wears No. 90 for the Thunder. Buhach Colony opened its doors in 200,1 and Shittu is their first big-time recruit. Kevin Swartwood, a leading authority on the "fly offense", was named the Merced Sun-Star 2010 Coach of the Year and saw his team capture the first conference championship in school history.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories