Verbal View: Examining the Impact of Derrek Pitts and His West Virginia Commitment

West Virginia's redemptive recruitment of Derrek Pitts brings not only a talented player into the Mountaineer fold, but answers some of the drive-by questions concerning its in-state recruiting efforts.


Pitts is a defender that is perfectly suited to the hybrid positions on the second level of the Mountaineer defense. Fast enough to run with any wide receiver, but strong enough to contend in the short range, he's another in what seems to be a large stream of big corner\safety commits in the current class. There's no overload, though – the Mountaineers have a lot of needs in the defensive secondary, with seven seniors on this year's roster, and thus need to rebuild for the future.

In addition to his athletic skills, Pitts is a competitor that relishes being in the midst of the action when the game is on the line. This is the easiest to see on offense and as a return man on special teams, where he has made numerous big plays in critical situations, but that mindset should translate to the defensive side of the ball.


Will Pitts be o.k. playing with a bit less limelight on the defensive side? He does enjoy playing in the spotlight (as any of us would), so going solely to the defensive side might be a bit of an adjustment. The good news is that for players at the top of their game, there's plenty of attention given to the Mountaineer defense. A look at Karl Joseph and K.J. Dillon should be enough to confirm that. He'll need to get through that first year or two when playing time could be limited, though, and that can be a tough adjustment for anyone.

From the limited view of simply getting Pitts in the fold, this commitment is very big. He fits WVU's defensive scheme. He could help on special teams. He has the attitude and approach that matches that of the current Mountaineer squad. There just aren't any negatives to be seen.

However, there's more. In the larger context, WVU answered those critics who were lobbing bombs at the Mountaineers for “not being able to keep good players at home”. Ignoring the reasons why some players want to go elsewhere for college, they pointed at this as a failure in the recruiting process. West Virginia's continued work, even after Pitts committed to Penn State, is a direct counter-punch to those flailing hooks, and one that probably won't be addressed by those who were so quick to throw them.

WVU 2017 Football Verbal Commitments


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