LAKE BUENA VISTA – After a tough first day of practice at the Under Armour All-America Game – in which he dropped a number of passes in drills – UF pledge Latroy Pittman took a step back and let the game start coming to him. When that happened, Pittman showed why he is considered one of the top receiver prospects in the Class of 2012.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound receiver out of Citra North Marion – just a 25-minute drive from the Swamp – put together a strong practice on Tuesday, beating Oklahoma commitment De’Vante Harris and Lucas Thompson (among others) in one-on-one drills and seven-on-seven work. Pittman has lined up both on the outside and in the slot and seems to have settled in nicely for Team Blur despite playing multiple wide receiver spots this week.
“It’s the third day in. I’m getting used to all of the plays, using my natural ability out there,” Pittman said. “So I feel real good.”
Having the chance to work with ESPN analysts Herm Edwards and Keyshawn Johnson – who have a total of nearly 40 years of pro experience between them – is something that Pittman is trying to use to his advantage as he looks to improve as a player this week.
“Really, it’s just a blessing to be coached by guys that have been in college and the next level,” he said. “Take some of the things they teach you and use them on the field.”
This week Pittman is playing alongside five additional UF commitments – along with five Florida State pledges as well – as Team Blur is loaded with a number of players with ties to the Sunshine State. Pittman says the players to UF have continued to build relationships that they are hoping will pay off when they hit the field next fall.
“We’ve known each other before [the Under Armour Game],” Pittman said. “The chemistry is even better. Just getting to know those guys off-the-field even more. Me and Brian [Poole] are roommates. Rooming with him is real cool. We have some of the same interests.”
With his easy-going personality, Pittman has been one of the top recruiters on the ground for the Florida program since he committed to the Gators back in August of 2010. His pitch to other targets participating in the game this week – Nelson Agholor, Jordan Jenkins and Florida State commit Dante Fowler, among others – has been pretty simple.
“Come to a place where we want to be great,” he said. “We’re just telling everybody we’re on the rise.”
The Gators do in fact head into the offseason with a little momentum following their 24-17 win over Ohio State in the Gator Bowl on Monday. Pittman said he had a chance to catch some of the action on television following practice at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.
“I got a little glimpse of it,” he said. “To see the offense open up a little more with the passing game. See the defense come out and play hard, but special teams was the key.”
On Friday, Pittman himself will be a part of the program as he is set to enroll in classes for the spring semester at the University of Florida. Although he is just days away from fulfilling a long-time dream to play college football, Pittman said it still hasn’t hit him yet that he is about to officially become a Gator.
“Not really, but it’s crossed my mind,” he said. “I’m really ready to get this game in so I have a good performance and after that get to Florida and get to work.”
Pittman finished the 2011 season with six interceptions on defense for North Marion, and may actually get a look on that side of the ball as well when spring practice for the Gators starts in March.