How Faith Plays A Role in Jeremiah Pittman's Life On And Off The Field

Adam Hensley

Jeremiah Pittman is a quiet guy. He’ll be the first to tell you.

The 2021 Iowa football commit endures endless earfuls of trash talk in the trenches as a defensive tackle, but he doesn’t respond with words.

“Even if I do want to get back at somebody, it’s probably more effective putting him in the dirt as opposed to saying something that doesn’t really mean anything,” Pittman said.

But if you ask his father, that’s another story.

“He needs to clarify,” James Pittman Jr. laughed. “He doesn’t start it.”

Ever since he was in middle school, opponents have attempted to get into Pittman’s head with their words or cheap shots on the field.

Time and time again, Pittman kept his cool.

Playing lineman in seventh grade, Pittman took a cheap shot from a pair of defenders, and one pushed him to the ground when he attempted to get up. The next down, Pittman blew up the play and hit the quarterback with a full head of steam.

Even last season, with Pittman playing on the defensive line, an offense sent two blockers his way. As Pittman was getting up, one of the players grabbed for his legs and started talking.

“Jeremiah goes, ‘You need to shut your mouth.’ The kid shut his mouth,” James said. “He doesn’t talk smack, but they know who he is.”

3-star defensive tackle Jeremiah Pittman gives the Hawkeyes a boost defensively in their 2021 class.Jeremiah Pittman Twitter (@jeremiahpitt55)

Pittman’s learned to tune out the outside noise and focus on what really matters in his life.

“He has very strong priorities and values,” St. Viator head football coach Dave Archibald said. “He’s committed to things that matter — his faith, his family, his academics, his training… he’s got a very mature outlook on life and things for someone his age, for a 17-year-old. He already has the tremendous sense for what is worthy of his time.”

And while responding to trash talk isn’t something Pittman considers worthy of his time, his faith is. It’s one of the anchors in his life, and that comes from his upbringing.

His father James is the senior pastor at New Hope Community Church in Palatine, Illinois. He’s been in that position since 2013, and the Pittman family has attended church there for more than 10 years.

Pittman has always been involved in youth ministries. Now, he’s on the media committee at New Hope Community Church, meaning once a month, he assists with running the PowerPoints during worship songs and sermons - just another way for him to stay involved.

“It kind of translates to the rest of my life,” Pittman said. “That helped me with my discipline.”

Pittman is the youngest of James and his wife Lena’s three boys. Together, James and Lena made it a point to raise their children in Christian faith. James helps to answer his sons’ questions about virtually anything in life, but especially when it comes to processing emotions.

“We think through life. We don’t just react,” James said. “It’s the weak man who simply reacts and doesn’t think.”

James and Lena try to integrate everything they and their boys see through faith, including football. Eternity is what’s most important, according to James, and that’s a perspective Jeremiah’s always shared. Wins and losses aren’t the end of the world.

“But we Pittmans, we hate to lose,” James laughed.

And it’s true.

“I’m a very competitive person,” Pittman said. “When it comes to on the field, if I’m not winning, then that drives me.”

Last season, Pittman shredded opposing offenses at the defensive tackle position, totaling 31 tackles, including eight tackles for a loss and four sacks.

Iowa took note, offering Pittman a scholarship on March 24, and he eventually committed on May 18.

“I went into the process wanting the best combination of football and education I could get,” Pittman said. “...(Iowa’s) old school football, that drew me in. I’m an old-school guy.”

To be committed to the Hawkeye program is a relief for Pittman. His discipline and dedication to his craft paid off, but the work is far from finished.

“I’m happy for him,” James said. “He set his mind to it. He’s disciplined in school work, he’s disciplined in his training. I’m happy and proud that he set his mind to something and he’s accomplished it. Jeremiah is a fierce competitor. I’m excited to see what will happen.”

For additional content, follow Adam Hensley on Twitter @A_Hens83.