SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Rivals four-star defensive back Derrek Pitts tweeted Monday he was re-opening his recruitment, two months after committing to Penn State.
That South Charleston star’s original pledge caught many by surprise, including his mother, Dionne Pitts, who presumed West Virginia was the choice. While Penn State coach James Franklin made an impression, the 6-foot-1 safety is back in play for WVU, along with numerous other Power Five schools such as Tennessee, Louisville, Maryland, Florida, Clemson and Virginia Tech.
“I would like to thank Coach Franklin and his staff for giving me (an) opportunity to be committed to Penn State University, which is a great program,” Pitts tweeted. “But I would like to reopen my recruitment and explore my other options.”
Pitts made an unofficial visit to Morgantown for West Virginia’s 17-16 win over Kansas State. That lifted the Mountaineers (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) back into the AP top 25 and coaches poll, while Penn State (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) needed overtime to beat Minnesota, capping a week in which AD Sandy Barbour was prodded to give Franklin a public vote of confidence.
“Pitts’ decommitment is something that’s been in the works for a while,” said Rivals writer Keenan Cummings. “West Virginia, they’re definitely in the mix again. He told me he loved it here this weekend and he may be coming back for the TCU game.”
Pitts is the top prospect in the state’s atypically strong 2017 senior class, and Rivals rates him the nation’s No. 24 safety.
West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson is serving as the lead recruiter for Pitts, and head coach Dana Holgorsen has become personally involved also.
Rivals currently ranks West Virginia’s 2017 recruiting class at No. 47, with 15 commitments — including only one four-star pledge, receiver Mike Harley of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.