by Jeff Barlis
Just standing among his fellow campers, Citra, Fla., North Marion receiver LaTroy Pittman looks the part of a big-time receiver.
But unlike his peers, Pittman (6-foot-1, 200 pounds) already has what most of them are grinding for — a scholarship offer and a commitment to his college of choice.
Pittman was, in fact, Florida’s first verbal pledge for the Class of 2012, a distinction that’s not lost on him.
“It’s special. Overall I’m just proud to be a Gator,” he said after his spring game against Gainesville High last month. “It’s great that they chose to give me an offer.”
They were the previous coaching staff, and Pittman was offered after a standout performance at Friday Night Lights. He spoke with Urban Meyer privately then came back to UF’s first fall practice, where the coaches made it clear how much they wanted him. Two weeks later he was a Gator.
“I’m a fan of Florida,” Pittman said, “so it was a dream to even be offered.”
Sunday, Pittman was back in Gainesville, showing off in front of his new coaching staff at Day 2 of the Will Muschamp Gators football camp.
“It felt great just getting out there, getting a feel for Coach (Aubrey) Hill, how he coaches and how he sees me,” he said. “As far as hands-on and doing drills, that was the first time I really got to see how he would coach me.”
Pittman said he met Hill shortly after the former Gator was hired as receivers coach (and recruiting coordinator). The two began bonding immediately and Hill made it clear what he expected of Pittman.
Fighting through intense heat on Sunday, Pittman undoubtedly made his future position coach proud.
“I don’t want to leave,” he said after spending some time in the UF football offices after camp. “I’m ready.”
He’ll have to keep waiting, though. Pittman will play his senior season this fall, take four official visits to other college campuses (because they’re free trips) and wrap it all up with an official to Florida before he enrolls in January.
He’s also planning to come back to Gainesville for Friday Night Lights, where it all began a year ago.
Being in Gainesville feels very much like home to Pittman, and there’s one more thing that brings him out to camps and motivates him to work when his choice has already been made.
“I like to do some recruiting. Just trying to get the best class in the nation to come to Florida,” he said. “Great guys want to play with great guys.
“I also just come out to compete, show why I deserve to go to Florida.”