This interview is the third in a series that will focus on players taking an official visit to Pitt this upcoming weekend. Check back throughout the week for exclusive interviews with some of Pitt’s 2017 commits and targets.
Dontavius Butler committed to Pitt back on July 31, 2016, but the 3-star wide receiver has yet to visit the university where he plans on playing college football. This weekend, the 6’2” 195-pound recruit from Florida will make his official visit to Pitt, and finally observe what the university has to offer in person. Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke to Butler Tuesday night concerning his visit, beginning with his feelings leading up to the trip.
“Pretty excited,” Butler immediately replied. “I’m pretty excited to see the Steel City and possibly catch some snow. It’d be my first time ever seeing snow.”
Regardless of the weather, Dontavius is prepared for a busy weekend. While he has yet to delve into the details of the visit, he knows the Panthers’ staff has plenty of activities planned for their coveted recruit.
“They gave me an itinerary list, and I haven’t really looked at it, and didn’t see what I’m doing. But it’s a pretty busy weekend. I just know it’s a list full of things from as soon as I get there to as soon as I leave.”
Butler will review the schedule before arriving in Pittsburgh, preparing himself for this weekend’s visit. Regardless of the plans on his agenda, he already knows what his primary focus will be.
“I’ll be looking to see how the coaches treat me, and whether it’s a family—because that’s what it’s all about to me. If you have that family bond, you won’t really feel like you’re missing home a lot, and you’ll feel like you always have someone there.”
This is not the only focus for Dontavius, though. He intends on checking out Pittsburgh as a city to ensure that there is plenty to do off campus. He will also spend some time investigating the academic facilities, although his major remains undecided.
“I’m thinking about majoring in Business Management, and also Journalism,” said Butler. “I’m not really sure between the two, but those are my top two.”
Butler anticipates meeting fellow Pitt-commits like running back Todd Sibley and wide receiver Darian Street in person. He is especially anxious to meet Class of 2017 early enrollee Kenny Pickett, the quarterback who will soon deliver him the ball in practice—and perhaps one day at Heinz Field.
“I’m really excited to meet them. I wish I could work out with them—especially with Kenny to see how he is and stuff … we’ll get there soon.”
Dontavius already knows a pair of current Pitt players in defensive back Malik Henderson and defensive lineman Rashad Weaver. Henderson and Weaver are both Florida natives, and provide the assurance that he will never feel alone.
This weekend will not answer all of Butler’s questions, though. One thing does disappoint Dontavius heading into his visit, although he will not allow it to ruin his weekend.
“I wish I could meet the offensive coordinator, but obviously he’s not there,” he confesses. “So I’m looking forward to spending time with Coach Narduzzi, coach Salem, Coach Sherman, and just meeting everyone else on the staff.”
Dontavius recently concluded his senior season at American Heritage High School in—as he describes it—the “perfect way.” American Heritage finished their season with an undefeated record, winning the Florida Class 5A State Championship in a game where Butler recorded a 5-yard touchdown reception.
“Honestly, it meant everything. Coming in for my freshman year, I got hurt…After that, it just felt like everything was going downhill. I kept rehabbing and stuff, and it really showed me hard work pays off. And scoring the touchdown to put us up … it was everything.”
On the season, Butler registered 23 receptions for 278 yards and 4 touchdowns. With his high school football career over, Dontavius considered playing basketball for American Heritage this winter. However, he elected to concentrate on football in preparation for the jump from high school to college.
“I’m working to improve my speed and my footwork,” he said. “That’s like my main thing I really want to improve, because the strength is pretty much there … I just know if I improve my footwork it will mean a great deal for my route running. And my hands are pretty solid, so other than that I just want to get faster and quicker out of my breaks.”
To ensure he trains effectively, Butler is working with Pete Bommarito of Bommarito Performace System. Bommarito prepares collegiate athletes for the NFL combine, and Dontavius is certain that Bommarito has him improving in the right areas.
“With him, you never really know what you’re going to do on that day. But it’s a lot of intense footwork, speed training—it’s a lot of technique stuff, and I think that’s what I was lacking on.”
Now that he will make his visit to Pitt, Dontavius remains unsure if he will visit other schools before putting pen to paper on National Signing Day.
“I don’t really have any set up. I would like to, but I don’t really know right now.”
Despite his possible interest in visiting other universities, Dontavius insists he remains fully committed to the Panthers. A successful visit this weekend will only strengthen his confidence in Pitt as the right school for him. With some sight-seeing, a family environment, and perhaps some snow, this weekend could clear any uncertainties regarding a college selection for Dontavius Butler.