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Chase Pittman picks Texas

In Evangel tradition, <B>Chase Pittman</B> addressed the congregation this morning at First Assembly of God Church in Shreveport. Chase formulated the speech over the weekend after he registered five tackles in the 3-0 Eagles' 33-17 win over nationally top-five-ranked Lufkin Friday night. The final words echoed those spoken by older brother <B>Cole</B> almost three years ago: "I want to play football for the best head coach in America, <B>Mack Brown</B>."

"I felt like it was home," Pittman told IT of his multiple visits to the Forty Acres, including for last week's UNC game. "I feel like part of their family and that's where I'll be the happiest." The defensive end said the Texas players and coaches "took me in right off the bat" when he first tripped to Austin as a high school freshman along with older brother Cole. Chase also mentioned as a factor in his decision to verbal to Texas the "character of the coaches" in all that they've done for his family since Cole's loss in an auto accident last February. Another aspect of the Longhorns appealed to Pittman: "It's a team. I mean, it's a team. A lot of places, it's me, me, me, but at Texas it is a team atmosphere. It's a home atmosphere." Despite what he called an emotionally "rough" weekend in Austin for the Horns-Tar Heels match-up, Pittman said the dedication of the game to Cole and the surrounding ceremonies convinced him that people still remember and will continue to remember his brother, something, he said, that is very important to him.

Chase chose the Horns over the Tigers of LSU, where he visited the weekend before his trip to Austin. The senior DE called LSU "great" and recommended that those who don't spend their college days in Austin do so in Baton Rouge. OU made the cut to three, but Pittman dropped the Sooners after visiting Norman over the summer. Let's just say the atmosphere at Oklahoma during the Pittman's trip made the decision to cross the Sooners off the list an easy one. Darryl Drake recruited Pittman for the Horns while Bobby Jack Wright recruited the Louisiana star for OU).

Pittman told IT that he is currently 6-5, 255, and that Maddog said that he will "get him big." In the muscle department at least, the future Horn is already doing quite well in that area. Pittman said he recently benched 450 pounds (up 10 pounds from the 440 pounds he benched during spring in honor of Cole, who wore No. 44) and power cleaned 295. At a Nike camp in May, Chase did an equally impressive 35 bench press repetitions with 185 pounds. After hurting his back in April, he's recently laid off the squats, but regardless, simple strength is one of Chase's best football attributes, as is his quickness off the ball from the DE spot.

Last season, Pittman totaled 37 tackles, including seven sacks and three other TFLs and recovered one fumble. A neck injury and a dislocated shoulder sidelined Chase for five of Evangel's 13 games last fall. In the Eagles' three game so far this season, Pittman has 13 tackles and one sack.

Pittman will graduate from Evangel in January and will enroll at UT for the spring semester, allowing him to work out with the team during spring practice.

Although expected, Pittman's verbal pledge to Texas bolsters an already impressive '02 D-line group that probably will include several more top prospects. DEs Lyle Sendlein and Tully Janszen and DTs Earl Anderson and Sonny Davis (who will sign in December as a juco transfer) are already in the commitment column, and four of the state's best DLs -- Mesquite DT Marco Martin, Alief Hastings DT Rodrique Wright, Lancaster DT Larry Dibbles (any of the previous three could have a legitimate claim at being the top overall prospect in the state) and The Woodlands DE Travis Leitko -- are good possibilities to end up in the Orange and White. Add to that possibility list Jenks (OK) DE Bryan Pickryl and it's obvious that the Horns could clean up on defensive linemen next February just as they did on offensive linemen last February.

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