When it comes to Grand Valley State football, a lot of people know that the Lakers are always in pursuit of championships including the national title. Last season while they were hunting for the national title, many fans learned about wide receiver Jamie Potts, who as a sophomore last season, went from hybrid tight end to a go-to receiver by the end of the season.
While there is no doubt that Potts lives up to all the hype that he receives, it’s time for more people to also pay attention to Detroit native and Grand Valley State senior wide receiver Darryl Pitts, who is poised to have a great a senior season.
Now for those who don’t know, coming out Detroit Southeastern, Pitts was truly a gem on both sides of the field. Not only did he catch 43 passes for 753 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior but he also collected 30 tackles and eight interceptions on defense. If that’s’ not enough, Pitts also helped to lead his team to their best season in school history after advancing to the regional finals of the state playoffs in his senior year.
While no one could deny that the former Detroit Southeastern Jungaleer, had Division I potential, he wasn’t as highly recruited out of high school as he should have been, only earning a offers from a few schools. Before deciding to take his talented to Grand Valley State University, to play for the GVSU Lakers at wide receiver.
“It seems just like yesterday that I was at Detroit Southeastern playing on the field with my teammates.” said Pitts. “My time there was one of the best times of my life. Donshell English was a great coach and mentor to me and he did a great job of preparing me for the next level and for the incredible journey that I have had at GVSU.”
Although, he has had a few rough patches along the way, no one can deny that Pitts has truly grown into a better player and leader during his time at GVSU. Which is why so many feel he bound to have a great senior season, as he once again prepares to bring the Lakers plenty of success.
Pitts is already coming off a solid junior season, where he played in all 15 games last season starting 14 of those game, while earning the ranking as third on the team in receptions (30) and receiving yards (525).
While those stats may not seem impressive, keep in mind that you have to look beyond the simple stats, to see what Pitts bring to the table. For starters, at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, Pitts already has good size and when you combine that with his great athletic ability, soft hands and under the radar speed and strength, the sky is the limit for this young man.
To be honest, one of the main thing that stands out about Pitts, is the fact that he has some of the best hands, I have seen coming out of high school. Since joining the Lakers, I have only seen his ball skills enhance, seeing that he caught just about every pass thrown his way, last season.
Beyond his great hands, Pitts is also a great creator after the catch. As a junior last season, he averaged 17 yards per reception, not to mention that 25 of his 30 receptions last season resulted in a first downs. Once again proving that Pitts has the vision, speed and strength to make plays in the open field, while also helping his team score the ball or move the chains.
When it comes to being a red-zone threat, there is no doubt that Pitts has the athleticism and soft hands to make the big plays in the air whether he is in single coverage or double coverage. In fact, he has shown on a number of occasions that he is the one his team can count on when the going gets tough or when they need a much-needed score.
During the Lakers playoff run last season Pitts, caught five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown in their first round match-up against Saginaw Valley State which allowed them to move on to the next round where they faced Colorado State-Pueblo. Then in their game against Colorado State-Pueblo, Pitts was even more impactful, as he hauled in four passes for 44 yards and two touchdowns, once again helping the Lakers to advance to the next round of the playoffs. Even though, his stats didn’t necessarily show it in the next few games, Pitts went on to help the Lakers all the way to the NCAA Division II semifinal contest, where they unfortunately fell short to Northwest Missouri State.
“At the end of the day, I am always looking to become a better player and athlete than I was yesterday.” replied Pitts. “As a receiver, on this year’s Laker team, I feel I am a do-it-all type receiver, who can score in a variety of ways and make plays from anywhere on the field. As a senior on this year’s Laker team, I feel it is my responsibility to not only be a leader on the field but to also be a leader off the field. In fact, one of my main goals going into this season, is to be the best teammate and leader that I can be to both my younger teammates and my fellow peers.”
“After that my goals for the season, are simply broken down into individual and teams goals. My individual goals for the season, are first no dropped passes and my second goal is to play every down like it is my last, as I take the season, game-by-game. When it comes to our team goals, are goal is to simply be best team on the field each week and to once gain take everything game-by-game, as we continue to get better each week both as a team and as individuals.”
It’s because of those great comments and unique qualities above that I once again have to encourage you to lookout for the Pitts and GVSU Lakers this season.
Now I know if you look at the Lakers depth chart, you will see that they have plenty of weapons at receiver, whether it be Potts and Pitts or one of the other receivers like Keontre’ Miskel, Brandon Bean, Joe Robbins, Urston Smith, Justice Wright, Matt Williams, Kameel Jackson or James White.
Although, GVSU associate head coach/wide receivers coach Jack Ginn said last week that “no one [receiver had] really separated themselves”. I think it is only a matter of time before Pitts separates himself from the rest of the pack and shines through. In fact, he could do it as soon as this Thursday night, when Grand Valley State takes on Azusa Pacific in Azusa, California.
“Even though, I feel Keontre’ [Miskel] had a great camp, I do agree with coach Ginn, when he said that we didn’t separate ourselves in camp.” said Pitts. “Even though, I feel like I could have had a better camp, I will make up for lost time I had a camp, starting with our game against Azusa Pacific. As I said earlier, this is my senior year and just like most, I plan for it be my best year yet, as I help to lead my team to victory in any way that I can, starting with our season opener against Azusa Pacific.”
Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
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