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UF Football: Pitts Honored With Brick Unveiling, Award Ceremony

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY TOMMY SCOTT

All-American Gators tight end projected to go high in first round of NFL Draft

It was a night full of tears, joy, and gratitude as Florida hosted the John Mackey Award Ceremony for 2020 recipient Kyle Pitts on Thursday evening.

Mackey Award Chairman Jerry Mackey, as well as head coach Dan Mullen and tight ends coach Tim Brewster, were in attendance inside the Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, along with Pitts’ family, to honor the second tight end in school history to win the award.

Thursday’s festivities began outside the entrance to the Heavener Football Complex, where Pitts’ first team All-American brick was unveiled.

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Following the brick unveiling, guests then made their way to Touchdown Terrace for the main event, with former Gator tight end Tate Casey emceeing.

Coach Brewster, who has coached the most Mackey Award winners in the country, was the first to the microphone.

Brewster had high praise for Pitts, saying that as John Mackey helped evolve the tight end position, so too has Pitts.

“Everybody’s having a hard time trying to put you in a box,” Brewster said, directing his comment to Pitts in the crowd. “And what exactly is he? Is he a wideout, is he a tight end? All I know is this, I think he’s the best football player in America.”

Coach Mullen was next up to speak and spent some time reminiscing on first meeting Pitts, while also thanking and congratulating him and his family.

“To go up and visit with you and visit with your family – Kyle, I want to thank you, I want to thank your parents for trusting me,” Mullen said. “The decision to come here is not something that I take lightly, it’s something I take seriously … I thank you for trusting me with your future.”

Jerry Mackey, the nephew and godson of John Mackey, came up next to introduce the award winner.

“I put (Kyle Pitts) up against every award recipient as far as on the field and off the field,” Mackey said. “So that does us proud when we can find young men that have high character and have high aspirations for not only themselves, but for others.”

Finally, it was time for the man of the hour to speak. An emotional Pitts stood tall in thanking his parents, family, and coaches for all of their support.

“Just, thank you,” Pitts said to his support systems in the crowd after rattling off several names.

Pitts then came back up following his speech for a brief Q&A with Casey, answering questions about his time at UF and his future goals in both football and away from the game.

The Philadelphia native touched on how important it was for him to move away and develop both on and off the field.

“It’s okay to be able to go away from home and explore,” Pitts said. “Just to be able to go away and explore and grow as a man … just learning a new culture.”

A replay of the ceremony can be found here.

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