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Pittman has big-picture view of development, wins at FSU

Florida State hasn’t had much consistent success in the passing game the last few years. Part of the pitch to the group of transfer receivers was Mike Norvell’s track record at Memphis.

“I looked at a guy like Anthony Miller, who was coached back at Memphis with Coach (Norvell),” FSU transfer receiver Mycah Pittman said. “I know that he had a great history with them, and me and Anthony have the same physical stature. So I can see myself being successful in this offense, being utilized in ways that he utilized him. Being able to go out there and make plays is something that is kind of second nature for me. If I can continue to do that and make consistent plays, there should be no issue for this offense.”

Norvell’s resume developing receivers at Memphis certainly includes Miller, who broke out in 2016 when Norvell arrived and had 95 receptions for 1,434 yards and 14 touchdowns. The following season, Miller built on it with 96 receptions for 1,462 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior.

Drops and inconsistency often led to disappointing results in FSU’s passing game last fall. And it became immediately clear that Norvell and the staff needed to upgrade the receiver room going into 2022.

There was an emphasis on experience, and Winston Wright Jr. of West Virginia easily was the most productive. But in landing Pittman, as well as Johnny Wilson of Arizona State and Deuce Spann of Illinois, there is a push to find receivers who are ahead from a strength and conditioning standpoint as well as those who can be difference makers in the open field. Competition in the receiving room will be very different this spring.

“I’ve had competition my whole life,” Pittman said. “My older brother (the Colts’ Michael Pittman) is in the NFL right now and is a 1,000-yard receiver. I’ve never shied away from competition. It makes them better, it makes me better at the end of the day. I love competition. Because that’s how I compete. I feel like that’s what separates me from other people, is my willingness to win and wanting to win, and I’ll go to the extent that I have to win.”

Pittman was limited to 22 games due to injury, but Pittman had 38 catches for 547 yards and two touchdowns (Pittman did play in 10 games in 2021). He has also been an effective returner, fielding 15 punts for 151 yards.

“We’re looking forward to the impact Mycah can make in different aspects of the game,” Norvell said. “He has showcased explosiveness and play-making ability at wide receiver and has proven to be a dynamic punt returner. He also is one of the more experienced players among this group having already played three seasons of high-level college football.”

Pittman has been an active recruiter for FSU, helping land his high school teammate in Wilson from Arizona State.

“I did give him a call because I knew he was entering the portal,” Pittman said. “Obviously, I can do my own recruiting, coaches can’t. I just talked to him, how I enjoyed my visit, that it was great. It’s great to have, when you’ve been around someone so long and built that chemistry, around you. Especially at a new place. He’s been key in my adapting to Florida State, too. We’re adapting together. It’s really cool to have him around. I know he’s a great player, he can move for how big he is and stuff like that. Takes a lot of stress off me. If I’m out there balling, it’ll help him get the rock, too.”

Pittman said he watched a considerable amount of film on quarterback Jordan Travis before making his decision.

“I’m not going to go where there’s a quarterback I don’t believe in, obviously,” Pittman said. “Jordan can throw the ball. There’s speculation or something, I don’t know, that he can’t. But he definitely can. I’ve seen now that he’s very confident. He can get out the pocket and still make very accurate throws. Me and Jordan have built a strong friendship these past 2-3 weeks I’ve been here. We’ve been hanging out all weekends. It’s been fun, enjoying each other’s company. We have similar traits and we’ve been able to connect.”

Pittman will also factor in this spring on special teams, especially as a punt returner. FSU struggled to find a consistent return option last fall, using Ontaria Wilson, Keyshawn Helton and Treshaun Ward.

“I’ve always been in the return game no matter what it was, whether it was high school, even Pop Warner I was back there catching punts,” Pittman said. “It’s definitely a thing I enjoy doing. I pride myself in not dropping the ball back there. I never did when I was back there after all the punts that I’ve caught. I pride myself in making smart decisions, too. If there’s four guys in front of me, I’m going to fair catch it if it’s not smart to run it out for, God forbid, fumble. Cost the team an opportunity. So just understanding when to take it out and when to catch it. I find it, other guys say it’s very routine for me to go out there and catch punts, looking at the rotation of the ball and understanding where it’s going to land before it lands.”

Pittman leaves behind an Oregon program that was among the best in the Pac-12 and joins FSU, which is coming off a fourth straight losing season but one that made progress with a win over Miami and a 5-7 mark last fall. As much as Pittman said he was looking to be developed, he is intent on winning games at FSU.

“I’m a winner at heart,” Pittman said. “I’m probably the sorest loser out there. If I lose, we’ll run it back until I win. That’s kind of the mentality that I have. It’s always been instilled in me, thankfully I have a great father and older brother who beat it into my head that I can win any rep at any time. They’ve instilled a lot of confidence in me and yeah, I want to win. I want to go out there and win all the games we have, I want to keep going and I know the confidence we have can lead us to a College Football Playoff if we win out. I think our team is talented enough to do that. It’s about putting the right pieces together and getting out there to play as hard as possible.”