Chris Pittman displayed plenty of athletic ability on the football field for the Piedmont Academy Cougars.
Perhaps the toughest thing for the senior to show was patience off the field. It took a while, but in the end, that patience paid off as Pittman will have a chance to compete the highest level of college football.
Pittman signed as a preferred walk-on at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and is eager to show what he can do at that level.
For the player and his coach, it was a tough waiting game.
“I have lost a lot of sleep over this,” said coach Will Johnson. “Chris is too good of a player not to be going anywhere. We are thankful UAB gave him the opportunity to play football. It is a very prestigious Division I school. They play ACC and SEC teams so Chris will be playing teams like Georgia and LSU.”
The past two years show Pittman became arguably the top player in the GISA. As a junior he compiled more than 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns. In his senior season he passed and rushed for more than 1,000 yards with 30 scores.
Pittman helped lead Piedmont to back-to-back state runner-up seasons.
“The only word to describe him is irreplaceable,” Johnson said. “You can’t replace him on the football field. You can only try to get by without him. We felt that way about him on offense and defense. He made myself and Coach [Matt] Britt look smarter than we are.”
Comparing his star player’s stats to “video game numbers,” Johnson said it took Pittman longer to find a place at the next level due to a recent NCAA ruling which gave players an extra year of eligibility.
Johnson himself was a collegiate player at Division II Valdosta State for coach David Dean, who is now the head coach at West Georgia.
“I was in constant communication with Coach Dean but not many players at Division II leave early for the NFL,” Johnson said. “Schools just didn’t have any extra spots. In the end, UAB is really the best fit for him. The only good thing about me leaving Piedmont is that I won’t have to call plays without Chris on the field.”
Pittman said he is eager to contribute any way he can at the next level.
“In talking with them I told them I could play wide receiver, defensive back and special teams,” Pittman said. “I think I can go in and contribute immediately on special teams.”
Pittman was one of Piedmont’s top defensive players, and he was an All-Region and All-State performer.