Pitts wins Mackey Award as nation’s top tight end

Special to Gatorsports.com
Florida tight end Kyle Pitts.

Florida’s Kyle Pitts on Thursday night won the John Mackey Award, which recognizes the best tight end in college football.

Pitts is the second tight end in school history to win the Mackey Award, joining Aaron Hernandez who won the award in 2009. Ben Troupe (2003) and Jake McGee (2015) were named finalists in their respective years.

"Beyond blessed for this achievement, I’ve been working toward this award since my freshman year and to be a winner and in the conversations of being the best Tight end in the nation is amazing! Thank you God," Pitts wrote on his social media account.

Earlier Thursday, Pitts was named a Walter Camp First Team All-American, the Walter Camp Football Foundation announced.

Pitts becomes the first unanimous first-team All-American since Vernon Hargreaves III in 2015. Both Pitts and Hargreaves were named to the first teams of the AFCA, AP, FWAA, Sporting News and Walter Camp All-America teams.

His dominant performance this season also landed him a spot as a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award (nation’s best pass catcher). But, as expected, Alabama’s DeVonta Smith won the Biletnikoff Award.

Pitts, who declared for the NFL draft last month, quickly became the best tight end and one of the top pass catchers in the country this season with 43 receptions, 770 yards and 12 touchdowns.

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

The junior is the first tight end in Gators history and the eighth FBS tight end in the last five years (including 2020) with three games of 100-plus receiving yards in the same season.   

Alabama's Mac Jones won the Davey O'Brien Award over Florida's Kyle Trask and Trevor Lawrence of Clemson.