Antonio Pittman has become the third Buckeye underclassman to announce he will enter the NFL draft following teammates Anthony Gonzalez and Ted Ginn. Pittman made the announcement at Akron Buchtel high school in front of a large gathering of fans as well as the current Griffin team.
“I will forego my senior year to enter the NFL draft,” Pittman announced. “This is a dream I’ve always had and today shows that it’s all possible. I’m only forty hours short of my degree and I am enrolled in school right now. I will be coming back to get my degree.”
Pittman spoke about why it was important to him to make this announcement at his high school.
“This is a great day for Buchtel,” he explained. “This is where I call home. I’m proud to be a Griffin and I wouldn’t do this anywhere but here. This is intended to give these young guys hope. One day one of them could be here.”
He also talked about his reasons for leaving Ohio State.
“First off this decision was made after talking with my family and it was made for them,” he continued. “My girlfriend and I have a young daughter and I want to give them the best. It will be hard because we will have to move to a different city and maybe a new state, but I’m ready for that challenge.”
“A lot of people doubted me when I went to Ohio State. My first year we lost four games in a row and things didn’t look too good. Then starting my sophomore year it seemed the next man was going to take my job, every year a different Wells. The second Wells, Beanie, is like a little brother to me. I love what we did at Ohio State. One loss doesn’t take away from a great team. I know this decision will effect my family, here with me and my Ohio State family.’
“Coach [Jim] Tressel and I talked about this before the Michigan game and he encouraged me to be a man and do what I had to do. He told me it wouldn’t be a bad decision to leave. We both agreed the timing was right. Right after the loss was not a good time to announce.’
“I basically made my decision after the Michigan game and the Bowl game. The feedback from the NFL was great. I was pleased and I believe I’ll be a first day selection.”
Pittman talked about what he’ll remember most about his time at Ohio State.
“This year was a great run and so was the Michigan game,” he stated. “My favorite moment would be the game winning touchdown against Michigan. Second, would be the 52 yard touchdown run this year against them.”
Current Buchtel head coach Claude Brown talked about Pittman’s maturity as a player and as a person.
“First off he’s a great kid,” Brown began. “I first saw him when he ran a 10.7 hundred in junior high. He’s always been a good kid. He was pretty much a loner here at Buchtel. He was a kid who just went about his business. He was always focused on what he needed to do to succeed. Nothing was going to stand in his way.’
“As a player I think his speed gets overlooked. He’ll go to the combine and run a 4.4 forty-yard dash and that will open some eyes. He’s also a good inside runner. He loves to run inside, find a seam, and bounce it to the sideline. I see him as a first round pick. He’ll show the scouts what they need to see and he’ll do really well in the personal interviews too. He’s the best running back I’ve ever coached and I’ve had some good ones.”
Pittman indicated he will stay in Columbus and train for the NFL combine under current Ohio State strength coach Eric Lindner.