LAS VEGAS — One might think with a retired NFL father who has a Super Bowl ring, and a talented older brother playing at a Power 5 school with plenty of tradition, that pressure would be mounting for a sophomore in high school.
But 6-foot, 185-pound receiver Mycah Pittman seems to like the pressure, in that it drives him.
If anything, you get a sense the pressure ignites his fire, motivating him to break his brother’s personal bests, and at some point, surpass the stature his father once held as a member of the Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos.
The class of 2019 recruit recently transferred to Calabasas (Calif.) from Oaks Christian, where he played on both sides of the ball. And while he expects to do the same for the Coyotes, his bread and butter at the next level will be as a receiver.
“You see certain kids, how they walk on the field, you see looks in their eyes – the way they practice,” said Michael Pittman, a fourth-round draft pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. “His presence alone, you can tell he is a ball player. There are certain kids who are good, and there are certain ones with that ‘it’ factor.
“Mycah has that ‘it’ factor.”
The elder statesman said the next rising star in the family is probably the best of the Pittman bunch at this level.
“He is the most talented Pittman at his age,” Michael Pittman said. “He is bigger than I was at 16, he is better than I was at 16, he’s accomplished more than I did at 16.”
In 10 games for Oaks Christian this past fall, Pittman hauled in 55 passes for 1,329 yards, including 10 touchdowns, with the longest reception going for 99 yards. In an ongoing, friendly sibling rivalry, Pittman said he is already proud of the fact he broke one of Michael Pittman Jr.’s records. During a 70-62 loss to Murrieta Valley on Sept. 23 at Oaks Christian, Pittman broke his older brother’s school record for single-game receiving yards, while also tying a state record, by catching 13 passes for 380 yards.
Now the younger brother says he is out to break his brother’s single-season receiving mark of 1,990 yards, set his senior year. By the time he graduates, Pittman wants a 2,000-yard receiving season.
“I’m trying to pass him up on that so I can have all bragging rights on him,” Pittman said laughingly, but as serious as the day is long. “I feel a little bit of pressure, not too much though. My brother set the bar really, really high his senior year. That’s hard to pass up. I just try my best.
“It’s just a blessing to have both my father and my brother there, guiding the path for me.”
Pittman has six offers on the table, from Oregon St., Colorado, USC, Boston College, Hawaii and Fresno State – the last one being his father’s alma mater. Other schools he’s heard may be interested, but have yet to reach out include Ohio State and Clemson. He admits it would be nice to have a healthy cache of offers from “the big schools,” such as: Alabama, LSU, and all the Pac 12 schools, but added that he is certainly not opposed to committing to a non-Power 5 team.
He said he plans to visit Fresno State, out of respect for his father, knowing it may bring back memories for the two-time all-Western Athletic Conference running back, who played behind quarterback David Carr and spent 11 years in the NFL. He said he’ll also plan a visit to USC, where his brother attends.
“I mainly don’t have a top five right now, I’m just out there ready to go. I want to surprise some folks,” Pittman said. “What matters to me is how much love I feel from the school, how I’m welcomed, the visit that I take and just seeing how I like it there.”
With a strong upper frame that allows him to challenge sturdy defensive backs, sure hands, and powerful explosion with his first step, Pittman is sure to become even more attractive to college recruiters during his junior campaign with pass-friendly Calabasas.
The one area is he is looking for improvement, which he knows comes with muscle maturity and annual body growth, is acceleration. Last year his father accomplished a “bucket list” goal of attaining his IFBB pro card at a bodybuilding event, so strength training and nutrition are an easy part of his daily regimen, helping him get better on and off the field.
“He’s a big guy, and he always has great workout tips for me on how to get bigger, faster, stronger,” Mycah Pittman said. “He’s been through it all. He’s a big mentor. He makes me the better player I am. And my older brother makes me the better player that I am. Without them I would not be where I am at today.”
Said Michael Pittman: “He is a kid who listens, he is a kid who is focused – that’s what impresses me most about my son. He knows what he wants out of life. I’m very impressed with his focus and what he wants to do in life. He is always working to get better every single day. And he’s the type of kid that when the game is on the line, he wants the ball. He’ll tell the coach I want to help you win this game. He’s the type of player who won’t let his teammates hang their head low, either.
“Both of my boys want to play in the NFL, that’s what they want to do. When it comes down to it, there’s no pressure from me, I don’t force the game on them. They eat, sleep and breathe football all day long.”