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Kyle Pitts Wins the 2020 John Mackey Award

Discussion in 'Gator Football' started by Escambia94, Jan 8, 2021.

  1. Escambia94

    Escambia94 Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE) Moderator

    Kyle Pitts is the Gator to win the John Mackey Award since Aaron Hernandez in 2009. He is also the first Gator named to an individual award since Chas Henry won the Ray Guy Award in 2010. To round out his awards season, Pitts become the eighth Gator named Unanimous All-American, joining Steve Spurrier (1966), Emmitt Smith (1989), Jason Odom (1995), Joe Haden (2009), and Vernon Hargreaves III (2015). Note: the University of Florida now has eight Unanimous All-Americans (selected by all five bodies that includes AP, AFCA, FWAA, WCFF, and SN) and 25 Consensus All-Americans (selected by three bodies).
  2. DRU2012

    DRU2012 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

    But as a “consolation prize”—but it’ll have to do: A fat NFL contract would (I think WILL be) the one that most consoles the young man.
    Hope (and gotta believe) his future is brighter than his Gator-predecessor at this award!
  3. Leakfan12

    Leakfan12 VIP Member

    I believe Cornelius Ingram should have been the NFL star not his teammate I'll just say and probably could have been if not his injuries. Ingram was just as talented as that guy if not more.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Escambia94

    Escambia94 Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE) Moderator

    I agree. This thread is about Kyle Pitts, so I will compare his stats to Hernandez and Ingram:
    • Kyle Pitts
      • 2020: 8 games, 43 receptions, 770 yards, 17.9 YPC, 12 TD
      • Notes: Pitts currently holds the record for most receiving TDs by a tight end with 12. He is #2 in total receiving yards to Harrison Bryant of FAU (2019). Despite only playing 8 games he far outpaced the other Mackey Award winners. His 17.9 YPC is #1 among all Mackey Award winners, with only Dallas Clark of Iowa (2002) even coming close at 17.3 YPC. His 770 yards in 8 games would have been extrapolated to 1250 yards in 13 games at his 2020 pace, which would have been 250 yards ahead of the next best season yardage with 13 games and would have made him one of only 2 TEs to have over 1000 yards receiving. Pitts was also on pace for 19 TDs in 13 games, which would have been almost twice as much as the next best TE in as many games.
    • Aaron Hernandez
      • 2009: 14 games, 68 receptions, 850 yards, 12.5 YPC, 5 TD
      • Notes: AHern beat out future NFL Pro Bowl tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Rob Gronkowski for the Mackey Award. Going into the 2009 season he was ranked as the #7 tight end. With Tim Tebow taking more snaps under center in 2009 under new OC Steve Addazio and QB coach Scot Loeffler, AHern vastly improved his blocking skills and became more of a weapon inside the red zone.
    • Cornelius Ingram
      • 2007: 13 games, 7 receptions, 1 TD
      • Notes: CI was hampered by repeated injuries, including one that kept him out of his entire senior year in 2008. The 2007 Mackey Trophy went to USC's hybrid WR/TE, Fred Davis. Davis is currently tied with Mark Andrews of Oklahoma (2017), Austin Seferian-Jenkins of Washington (2013), and Dwayne Allen of Clemson (2011) at #3 for most TDs by a tight end. CI's injuries and the offensive scheme used by Florida at the time hampered his Mackey chances. Also note that CI started his playing career as a QB under Ron Zook, and played shooting guard on Billy Donovan's basketball squad in 2004.
    Simply put, the Gators have been blessed at tight end despite not always having the right offense for maximizing the tight end position. CI had a decent chance at winning the Mackey in 2007 or 2008 if it were not for the injuries, but he was rather new at the position and was using raw skill from his quarterback and shooting guard experience at Florida and Hawthorne High School (where he is currently the head football coach). Aaron Hernandez despite all his faults was the best tight end Florida ever had until Kyle Pitts arrived. Hernandez, like Ingram, was blessed with athletic talent that propelled him to championships in multiple sports. Kyle Pitts did play tight end and defensive end in high school, but he did not excel in multiple sports like CI and AHern. Pitts struggled to surpass C'yonta Lewis, RJ Raymond, and Moral Stephens on the depth chart in 2018--despite playing as a backup in 11 games.

    One thing that set all three of these tight ends apart is that they did work very hard to improve at the position. CI not only had to learn a brand new position, but a new offense during the transition from Ron Zook to Urban Meyer. AHern put in a lot of hours working on football as the only means to avoid getting into trouble, and to forget about missing home up in Connecticut. Kyle Pitts was a solid receiver, but his raw blocking skills made him a liability in 2018 and somewhat in 2019. He did not even qualify for the Mackey Award in 2018 due to his lack of blocking metrics. In 2020, Pitts pleasantly surprised the Gator coaching staff, the Mackey Award committee, and NFL scouts with his much improved blocking.

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