UF Football: Pitts Named John Mackey Award Winner

Courtesy of University Athletic Association


Gators tight end recognized as best tight end in the country

Florida’s Kyle Pitts was named the winner of the John Mackey Award, which is presented annually to college football’s most outstanding tight end.

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.

His dominant performance this season also landed him a spot as a Biletnikoff Award finalist, which is presented annually to college football’s best pass catcher.

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Pitts was the first tight end ever to be named a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, the first Gator to be named a finalist since Jabar Gaffney in 2001 and the fifth Gator overall to be named a finalist, joining Gaffney (2001), Jacquez Green (1997), Reidel Anthony (1996) and Jack Jackson (1994).

Pitts also became the first unanimous first-team All-American since Vernon Hargreaves III in 2015. Both Pitts and Hargreaves were named AFCA, AP, FWAA, Sporting News, and Walter Camp First Team All-Americans.

Pitts 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.

Editor’s note: The University of Florida no longer recognizes former Gator Aaron Hernandez, so their version of this article omitted his name.