McKinley D lineman Se’Von Pittman chooses Michigan State

Todd Porter
Updated: Sunday, June 19, 2011
McKinley defensive lineman Se’Von Pittman said he chose to attend Michigan State over other finalists Michigan and Ohio State. REPOSITORY FILE<br /><div id="dfp-300x250" style="float:right;"><script type="text/javascript">googletag.display("dfp-300x250");</script></div>
McKinley defensive lineman Se’Von Pittman said he chose to attend Michigan State over other finalists Michigan and Ohio State. REPOSITORY FILE

CANTON  Late Sunday morning, Se’Von Pittman made a Big Ten coach’s Father’s Day. But his college decision also made it feel like farther’s day for one of the conference’s elite programs.

Pittman, the massive defensive end at McKinley High School, called Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio and told him he was ready to be a Spartan. He will be a senior this coming fall.

“He told me I just made his Father’s Day,” Pittman said of Dantonio’s response to his decision.

There is no denying, however, Ohio State’s NCAA investigation and likely serious penalties as well as the resignation of Jim Tressel, put some distance between one of the state’s prized recruits and its university. Pittman, according to McKinley head coach Ron Johnson, could have gone to just about any Top 25 program in the country.

His combination of size (6-foot-5, 245 pounds), strength and speed put him near the top of the list of most college defensive coordinators.

Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi was responsible for recruiting Pittman, with Dantonio heavily involved. Landing one of Ohio’s big fish in East Lansing would be a coup. Narduzzi, who was a standout player at Youngstown Ursuline, made a quick impact on Pittman.

“It started when I first saw coach Narduzzi in coach (Ron) Johnson’s office, and he was telling me I would be an impact player at Michigan State,” Pittman said. “He told me everything I wanted to hear from the jump. It made me want to go to Michigan State and see what it was about. Then my mom (Velvet Hutchinson) met them and liked them.”

Pittman said Ohio State’s NCAA troubles didn’t sway his decision that much.

Tressel’s resignation, however, did. Pittman could have joined former McKinley teammate Steve Miller at Ohio State. Miller will be a freshman for the Buckeyes this fall.

Tressel’s resignation had an impact on his college choice.

“Yes, because the same way I bonded with coach Narduzzi and Dantonio, I had a greater bond with coach Tressel. My mom loved him a lot,” Pittman said. “The whole family was all for going to Ohio State, but the situation made things harder. I had to make a move that was right for me.”

Another factor played in Pittman’s decision.

Most of Ohio’s top players follow the same path. Have a stud senior season, make All-Ohio and play for the Buckeyes.

Pittman wanted to be different. He wanted to be his own player and set his own path, not have what’s “usual” set his path.

“I wanted to be different,” Pittman said. “I wanted to help out a university like Michigan State that needs players like me. Then the coaches there just really opened up to me. I feel like we have a strong bond and that brought me to them.”

Pittman said there was an initial allure to playing on the defensive line with Miller again. However, he felt more at home with Michigan State.

“I would have been teammates with him again, but at the same time I have to do what’s right for me, and he has to do what’s right for him,” Pittman said.

Dantonio has turned Michigan State into a Big Ten contender. While the Spartans aren’t winning the conference year in and year out like Ohio State did under Tressel, they’re usually in the top half. That rise made Michigan State a legitimate landing spot.

“Michigan State, Michigan and Penn State, I think, are changing it a little bit,” Pittman said. “They’re getting the top players now.”

His final three college choices came down to Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan.