Stafford High School
While raw, Jalen Pitre has exhibited promising flashes in coverage, against the run and as a pass rusher; he has immediate special teams and can be a solid starter with additional experience and development.
Jalen Pitre is an extremely violent, versatile and productive defender for the Baylor defense. Pitre is labelled as a safety and most often plays the slot/overhang role commonly seen in college. He displays blazing foot speed and fluid hips to cover downfield vertical routes in man coverage and has solid instincts in zone coverage - often executing curl flat zones nicely. Furthermore, Pitre has potential as a tight end stopper, especially in catch-man coverage where Pitre can use his physicality and movement skills to stay in the hip pocket. Pitre has an explosive trigger and is best when he keeps the play in front of him, using his quick mental processing to read plays and fly downhill to get involved. Pitre is a special open field tackler who has sideline to sideline speed and rarely misses. Pitre also plays down in the box, often aligning as a 3-4 outside linebacker where he will defend the run and pass. Versus the run, Pitre is best when pursuing from the backside as his short area acceleration is elite and his motor is always revving to track down ball carriers. Additionally, Pitre has impressive competitive toughness, often playing bigger than his size indicates and embracing physicality - he’s particularly effective at violently engaging tight ends at the point of attack and allowing his teammates to run unblocked. Pitre’s size limits his ability to shed blocks consistently but he is also adept at evading blocks due to his slippery nature and smooth change of direction skills. Versus the pass, the Bears often blitz Pitre from a 3-4 outside linebacker position and his scary foot speed threatens the outside track versus offensive tackles - Pitre knows this and uses that threat to setup his inside rush by releasing outside, planting his foot and exploding inside to get to the quarterback.
Pitre is a unique prospect and one that will need a defined role/plan to succeed in the NFL. He should not be tasked with pure man coverage versus shifty slot receivers as his footwork in his backpedal is underdeveloped and his route mirroring skills are subpar. Furthermore, the Baylor defense tried to hide Pitre at times by providing him safety help in the form of bracket coverage - doubling the slot receiver Pitre was responsible for and only asking him to play either inside or outside leveraged routes, depending on the alignment. In addition, Pitre has some raw moments in zone coverage where he locks onto the quarterback’s eyes for too long and is unaware of route concepts in his area. Pitre’s uber-aggressive nature also bites him in the ass at times, occasionally biting on play action fakes or read option runs. Furthermore, Pitre is more of a reactive player than an instinctual one, he regularly needs to see the play happen and then he will react, rather than knowing what the offense is trying to do before they do it. Lastly, Pitre’s lack of size will limit his effectiveness versus the run as he struggles to consistently shed blocks from wide receivers, tight ends or offensive linemen and his short arms do not help in that regard.
Pitre is an elite athlete who has played nickel, boundary safety, outside linebacker and projects best in a “star” role. He is violent versus the run with a non stop motor and evades blocks well but struggles to consistently shed them. Pitre adds value versus the pass via his talents as a blitzer and flashes of sticky situational man+zone coverage. Maximizing his open field tackling, blitzing and athleticism while minimizing his responsibilities in coverage can lead to a good starter in the right situation but if played outside his strengths, Pitre can be picked on and a liability.
Born June third in Stafford, Texas to parents Rick and Devita Pitre, Jalen Pitre was a decorated athlete at Stafford High School. In just his sophomore year, the Texas native was made the team’s starting free safety. He recorded 78 tackles, six tackles for loss, six interceptions, one defensive touchdown and seven pass breakups. The versatile defender earned 2014 District 12-4A Newcomer of the Year honors for his performance. Pitre followed his award-winning debut campaign with a strong junior season. Unfortunately, though, he suffered a knee injury after posting 41 tackles and two pass breakups. Pitre’s senior year, though, was outstanding. The athletic recruit recorded 83 tackles, seven tackles for loss, six interceptions, one sack, two quarterback hurries and four forced fumbles. Pitre was named 2016 District 12-4A Defensive MVP; he was also awarded All-Greater Houston second team honors by the Houston Chronicle. The Stafford product was a sought-after recruit after his stellar high school career. 247Sports Composite rankings named him a three-star recruit. The same service listed him as the 1001st-best player in his class, the 76th-ranked safety in his year and the 137th-overall player in Texas. Pitre’s commitment to Baylor did not waver amidst the Art Briles scandal, citing cited academics as a key reason for his decision to attend the university. The talented defender contributed immediately in his freshman season. He played in all 12 games and started eight. In his first collegiate year, Pitre tallied 37 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and one pass breakup. The standout freshman saw his production drop in his sophomore season. Pitre played in all thirteen games but started only one. What’s more, he posted just 11 tackles and two tackles for loss on the season. He was, however, named to the 2018 Academic All-Big 12 first team. Pitre’s dip in playing time and production continued in his junior year. The do-it-all defender played in just four games and exercised his redshirt. He made twelve tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss; he also sacked the quarterback once. Baylor’s hybrid defender was named to the 2019 Academic All-Big 12 second team. In 2020, Pitre broke out. The Stafford native started all nine games and recorded 60 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, four pass breakups and one forced fumble. Pitre was named First Team All-Big 12 and received Honorable Mention for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Additionally, he was awarded AP First Team All-Big 12 as a safety, DCTF First Team All-Texas as a linebacker, WACO Tribune-Herald All-Big 12 First Team and Phil Steele All-Big 12 Fourth Team. Interestingly, the versatile defender was listed as a linebacker on Baylor’s roster from 2017 to 2019, a linebacker/safety on Baylor’s 2020 roster and a safety on Baylor’s 2021 roster. An academic standout, Pitre completed his undergraduate degree in business after just three years. He is now pursuing a master’s degree in educational psychology.
Pitre attended Stafford High School in Texas where he was an all-district defensive back. In his senior season, Pitre totaled 83 tackles, seven TFLs, six interceptions, one sack, two hurries, four fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles. After high school, 247Sports ranked him as a 3-Star recruit, the 1,001th-best recruit nationally, the 76th-ranked safety recruit in the country and the 137th recruit in the state of Texas.
Pitre committed to Baylor and in his freshman season in 2017 he appeared in all 12 games with eight starts, tallying 37 tackles, three TFLs, one sack and one PBU. In 2018, Pitre earned All-Big 12 Academic first team and appeared in all 13 games but made just one start. In 2019, Pitre appeared in four games, redshirted the rest of the season and made All-Big 12 Academic second team. In 2020, Pitre Started all nine games, was named to CoSIDA Academic All-America second team, First Team All-Big 12, Honorable Mention for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, AP First Team All-Big 12 and All-Big 12 Academic first team. Pitre led the team in total tackles (60) and tackles for loss (13), plus added 2.5 sacks, two interceptions In 2021, the fifth year senior is enjoying another extremely productive season, through 10 weeks he has totalled 55 tackles, 14 TFLs, two sacks, two interceptions, five pass breakups, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Floor/Ceiling: Solid Backup / Good Starter
Scheme Fit: Nickel/Star with heavy blitzing responsibilities
Grade: Late 2nd/Early 3rd
Torn ACL, ending his 2019 season
“First of all, Jalen is a great human being and the core values you have on your team, Jalen will be an ambassador of that. Jalen will be a connector on your team. Jalen will be an empathetic leader. I think he is just drawn to that and he will rise to be that person. On the field, he’s a gym rat man. He’s the guy in high school that is there way early, went to bed at the appropriate hour, studied on his own, ate the right stuff, hydrated the right way and got there way early and stretched, did all the right stuff. There’s a gap between what you do and how you prepare and how you recover from what you do. Jalen owns that gap. There are guys in the pros who have played a long time that have learned how to master that gap between when they’re doing stuff and when they’re preparing, or preventing, or recovering and I think Jalen is already there. He’s going to bring that mindset. His study of the game and approach to it allows him to play faster. It’s a product of just who he is.” - Baylor head coach Dave Aranda on Jalen Pitre
Pitre’s experience on the field and off the field will attract many NFL teams - he’s completed his undergraduate degree in August 2020 and is working on a master’s degree in educational psychology. Pitre’s passion to learn has translated to football and impressed head coach Dave Aranda, “There’s an area of football intelligence that comes with knowing spatial relation. You own that leverage and you attack and close off the space between you and the ball carrier. So whether you’re working with another defender or let’s say you’re working with the sideline. Jalen has either been taught that already or instinctively has that inside of him.” Furthermore, Aranda has a lofty player comparison for Pitre, “At LSU a couple of years ago, there was this guy named Grant Delpit. He was a safety and when he was down near the core, he really came alive – blitzing, setting the edges against the run and all that. Different body types, but Jalen has a lot of those same characteristics.”
12/05/21 - In their second season under head coach Dave Aranda, Baylor won their first Big12 championship since 2013. Coming into the conference as a defensive coach, some had raised their eyebrows and questioned if Aranda could be successful. On Saturday, it was the Bears’ defensive performance that saw them hold off an Oklahoma State team that was mounting a comeback after Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen suffered an injury. While he was not the one who made the fourth down stop, it was Jalen Pitre playing another outstanding game. The defensive back was all over the field, embodying what Aranda’s defense is all about: instincts, discipline, physicality and versatility. Pitre recorded seven tackles, including two behind the line of scrimmage. Furthermore, he deflected two passes. The Texas native was the only player sticking to their commitment to Baylor in wake of the horrendous scandal in 2016. After joining the program at its lowest point, Pitre can now leave as a champion.