That’s the best way to describe the player under the No. 84 jersey for the Florida Gators. Of course, I’m talking about 6-foot-6 tight end Kyle Pitts, the man with a catch radius that would give middle school math students fits trying to calculate.
The same Kyle Pitts who told an Ole Miss defender “better luck next time” after stiff arming his face and ripping off a 71-yard touchdown en route to a 170-yard, four-touchdown performance in UF’s 2020 season opener.
Gators head coach Dan Mullen likes unicorns. He likes Kyle Pitts. And he likely feels bad for any coach trying to scheme a way to cover the mythical creature who has already established himself as the best tight end in college football.
?Unless you have a unicorn on defense to match the unicorn on offense,” Mullen said in his postgame press conference after Florida’s 51-35 win over the Ole Miss Rebels, “You?ve got to have a guy. There?s not a lot of them out there. They?re kind of very, very rare to ever see one. Do you have a 6-foot-4, 240 linebacker that can run with him? Or do you have a [6-foot-3, 220-pound] safety that?s physical as he is at the point of attack.?
Kyle Pitts: Best TE in College Football
Scour the Internet and you’ll quickly find that Pitts has been snubbed an awful lot already in two-plus seasons playing in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
The 6-foot-6, 240-pound pass-catcher from Philadelphia’s Archbishop Wood High School wasn’t even named a semifinalist for the Mackey Award, given to the nation’s top tight end, despite posting numbers that ranked in the top-five among tight ends.
Voters rethought that in 2020 and named him to the Mackey Award and Biletnikoff Award watch lists. Only Aaron Hernandez has even won the Mackey Award from Florida. A tight end has never won the Biletnikoff Award, usually given to wide receivers, but it’s not inconceivable to think Pitts could walk away with both.
Pitts’ dominant performance against Ole Miss is worth talking about. He recorded eight catches for 170 yards and four touchdowns. But fans new to the Kyle Pitts movement should know about his sophomore season last year: 13 games, 54 receptions, 649 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
Talks of the top tight end should begin and end with Pitts. They don’t for whatever reason.
Big Ten diehards will claim Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth, who’s posted 69 receptions, 875 yards and 15 touchdowns over the previous two seasons, is the best tight end in the nation.
That would be impressive if Pitts hadn’t nearly eclipsed those numbers in his last 14 games.
ACC fans will tell you Miami’s Brevin Jordan is a superstar. He has 15 catches, 212 receiving yards and three touchdowns in three games this season.
Again, great numbers that Pitts will likely surpass when Florida takes on South Carolina in Gainesville.
“He’s a matchup nightmare for defenses. He’s too big for corners and too fast for linebackers,” Trask said of Pitts after the Ole Miss win.
Call it SEC bias or whatever you’d like, but to me no one stacks up against Florida’s tight end. As long as quarterback Kyle Trask is healthy, you can expect a heavy does of Kadarius Toney, Trevon Grimes and Kyle Pitts in the passing game this football season.
Pitts Might Become Best TE in Florida History
Pitts is well on his way to becoming the best to line up at tight end in Florida Gators history.
- Hernandez (2009): 14 games, 68 receptions, 850 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns
- ?Pitts (2019/20): 14 games, 62 receptions, 819 receiving yards, 9 touchdowns
Ben Troupe, who as a First-Team All-American senior in 2003, posted 639 yards and five touchdowns, deserves some love here as well. Still, Pitts is well on pace to pass those figures.
When this coronavirus and COVID-19-ridden season is all said and done, Pitts may be the first tight end taken in the NFL Draft.
Look, maybe Pitts’ big numbers last season and his first game in 2020 was a fluke of sorts. Maybe NCAA football teams like Georgia, LSU, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky will cover him and shut him down. Maybe he doesn’t have the size to be the blocker NFL teams are looking for.
One thing is for sure, though: Unicorns always find a way to stand out.