Florida's Pitts up for most outstanding tight end award

Zach Abolverdi
Gainesville Sun
Florida's Kyle Pitts is one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award, which goes to the nation's most outstanding tight end.

Last season, Florida’s Kyle Pitts didn’t qualify for the John Mackey Award despite finishing third nationally among FBS tight ends with 54 receptions. 

A year later, he’s the clear favorite to take home the trophy for college football’s top overall top tight end after his historic 2020 campaign. Pitts is up for two awards Thursday at The Home Depot College Football Awards, and teammate Kyle Trask is a finalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award. 

Pitts is one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award, along with Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar and Texas A&M’s Jalen Wydermyer. Pitts is also a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding receiver, along with Elijah Moore of Ole Miss and Alabama’s DeVonta Smith, the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner.

Pitts is the first player to be a finalist for both the Mackey and Biletnikoff Awards since Missouri’s Chase Coffman (2008). Pitts can become the second Gator to win the Mackey Award after Aaron Hernandez in 2009, a year after Coffman.

Pitts led all FBS tight ends with 770 receiving yards on 43 catches and 12 touchdowns, which was tied with BYU’s Isaac Rex for the most scores by a tight end nationally. 

Pitts’ 12 receiving touchdowns this season are the second-highest total by a tight end in SEC history. Vanderbilt’s Allama Matthews (14 in 1982) holds the league record. His 770 yards tied Kirk Kirkpatrick (1990) for second on Florida’s single-season record list for receiving yards by a tight end. 

Pitts is the first tight end in Gators history and the eighth FBS tight end in the last five years with three games of 100-plus receiving yards in the same season. He’s also the first UF offensive player to be named an AP First Team All-American since Hernandez in 2009.

Pitts was the first tight end to finish in the top 10 in the Heisman Trophy voting since Ken MacAfee in 1977. Trask became Florida’s first Heisman finalist since Tim Tebow in 2009. 

Trask finished fourth in this year’s voting behind Smith, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Alabama’s Mac Jones. Lawrence and Jones are both up for the Davey O’Brien Award along with Trask, and all three quarterbacks are first-time finalists for the award.

Trask led the nation in passing yards (4,283) and passing scores (43), both single-season school records. Trask had nine 300-yard passing games this season and topped the 400-yard mark five times, along with seven games with at least four touchdown passes and an SEC record six straight to start the season.

Thursday

What: The Home Depot College Football Awards. This year’s awards show will be presented virtually.

When: 7 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Awards: Florida junior Kyle Pitts is a finalist for the John Mackey Award, which recognizes the nation's outstanding tight end, and the Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding receiver. UF senior Kyle Trask is a finalist for the Davey O'Brien Award, which goes to the nation's best quarterback