Michael Pittman Jr is a simple man.
The standout Junior wide receiver for the University of Southern California likes to stay out of the limelight and remain grounded to his roots while playing in the City of Angels. Having grown up in the Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills, Pittman Jr entered the college recruitment process knowing that he wanted to be close to home. When he arrived on campus in the Spring of 2016, he tried to stay out of the hype of being a Division One athlete at a school as prominent as USC. In a recent interview with a student attending a sports journalism course as part of USC’s summer programs for high school students, Pittman Jr elaborated on his mindset.
“I’m more of a solo guy. A lot of the guys, they like to hang out and go to parties, since I’ve been here the only party that I’ve gone to was the one on my official visit that I had to go to.”
On the field however, is a completely different story. Pittman Jr is one of the most electrifying players on the Trojans roster. An impact player both on offense and special teams, Number Six has excelled at multiple different spots in USC’s lineup. Earning 2017 All-Pac-12 first team honors as a special teams player and being recognized as USC’s 2017 Co-Special Teams Player of the Year, the sky’s the limit for Pittman Jr entering the 2018 season.
“I’m hoping for an All-American year. I’m trying to get my name up there with JuJu (Smith-Schuster), Marqise (Lee), Robert (Woods), all of those guys.”
In addition to trying to uphold the legacy of historic Trojan wide receivers that came before him, Pittman Jr is also trying to live up to his family name. The Pittmans are a football family, plain and simple. Pittman Jr’s dad, Michael Pittman, played in the NFL for 11 years for the Arizona Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, winning the super bowl in 2003 with the Buccaneers while starting at running back. Pittman Jr’s brother, Mycah, is currently a four-star recruit attending Calabasas High School entering his senior year. In an interview with HSP Sports in November of 2017, Mycah detailed the impact that his older brother has had on his life and his football career.
“My brother is basically my idol. You couldn’t ask for a better person to look up to, because he’s at SC, he’s in the first lineup, he’s doing great things.”
Michael and Mycah’s relationship has taken many twists and turns, yet they have stuck together through it all. The brothers initially were apart from each other as Michael lived with his mother in California and Mycah was with his father in Florida. However, when their father made the decision to move to California and re-unite the two brothers, everything changed.
“It felt like I had known him my whole life,” Pittman Jr said. “It’s just crazy how far we’ve come.”
On the field, the brothers are their own best competition. During Michael’s final game of his senior year, the future Trojan set a school record for most receiving yards in a game with 357. The next year, Mycah broke his brother’s record by going for 380 yards against Murrieta Valley.
“He claims he’s broken some of my records, but I haven’t checked the record books lately,” Pittman said jokingly. “He pushes me to be better, and I know that I push him to be better.”
Entering his Junior season, Pittman Jr knows that it is his time to show the world what he is made of. The stakes are high, the lights are bright, and the pressure is on. But if the Los Angeles native is able to stick to his roots and stay grounded just as he has done his whole life, then don’t bet against him coming out of the 2018 college football season as one of the premier receivers in the game.