Hayden Pittman's 31-game reception streak at Southern Miss is on the line
Hayden Pittman is a tight end at UAB and many of his teammates have taken to calling him Sunshine, according to one of the best football films to be made, Remember the Titans.
The 6-4, 235-pound adonis is bred along the white sand beaches of the gulf coast, with blond locks that might even enrage former T.C. Williams and South Carolina quarterback Ronnie Sunshine Bass.
Pittmans moniker isnt the only one that he earns. Sometimes they get a little darker, especially when misunderstandings are made in practice.
They have a lot of nicknames for me, he added.
On game days, however, its Sunshine.
Pittman continues to shine with a 31-game reception streak as the Blazers prepare to face Southern Miss on Saturday, October 16 at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CST on Stadium.
Pittmans streak of consecutive games with a catch began with an individual 5-yard reception in the 2018 C-USA title game at Middle Tennessee State, and has since been extended to include two complete seasons to date.
It takes hands; youve got to catch the ball, he added. I couldnt do it without my quarterback, offensive line, and everyone on the team. Its a group effort, and itll be different than me.
Due to the NCAA granting Pittman and Gerrit Prince an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19, they returned for an additional season on the Southside.
Pittman has accumulated 695 yards and five touchdowns in his five-year career with UAB, and this week he returns to the Rock where a 25-yard go-ahead touchdown was caught in the Blazers 30-12 victory over Southern Miss during the 2017 season.
UAB head coach Bill Clark said, I am proud that he decided to play one more year for us and what a great leader il has been. We talk a lot about him being able to fight. Hes given extra effort on some blocks in two or three clips this morning. I still remember his big touchdown catch in Hattiesburg back in 2017.
Pittman is a ball of positive energy, the ultimate hype-man, bouncing from position group to position team with an exuberance that keeps his teammates spirits from waning.
Whenever were down, I try to keep my team up, he added. Even when we are down, I try to keep them up all the time. Thats how I stay positive; stay moving, stay dancing, and keep my team up.
Its no secret that the tight end position has changed dramatically in the last decade, and UAB welcomed the change with the appointment of former Arkansas offensive coordinator Joe Craddock as tight ends coach.
The Blazers saw an immediate increase in tight end usage last season, accounting for 18.9 percent of the receiving output, and that number has risen to 36.2 percent this year. Prince currently leads the team in catches (16), yards (323) and touchdowns (5), while Pittman is third with 10 receptions for 117 yards.
Pittman has a good chance of finishing his career with solitary receptions in 37 games, and if the Blazers win their way to the C-USA title game, possibly ten more.
Coach (Joe) Craddock and Coach(Bryant) Vincent are really looking forward to working with us and wanting to involve us more, Pittman stated. Theyre assisting us and looking for me and Gerrit Prince to make plays. We just have to go out there and make them.