One of the driving forces behind a Florida offense that has scored over 41 points per game this season will not be back next season. Tight end Kyle Pitts declared for the 2021 NFL Draft on Sunday, a day after Florida lost to Alabama 52-46 in the SEC Championship Game.
"First, I would like to thank God for the opportunity to play football and get an education from the University of Florida," Pitts said in a statement. "I've always wanted to play in the SEC, and the University of Florida has allowed me to have the best experience both in the classroom as a top 10 public institution, and on the field. I want to thank Coach Mullen for believing in me and my potential and helping me prepare for the next step in my life. Also, I would like to personally thank Coach Scott and Coach Brewster for molding me into the player I am today. Most importantly, I would like to thank my parents Theresa and Kelly, because they sacrificed a lot in order for me to get where I am today. Finally, I would like to thank Greg Garret, who has been a mentor and someone who has believed in me since Day One.
"After much prayer and consideration, and speaking with my family, I will forego my senior season and enter the 2021 NFL Draft and will not be playing in the bowl game. I am eager to pursue my dreams of playing in the NFL, but I will always be a Gator."
Pitts has been one of the most dynamic players at the college level over the last two seasons and is projected as a likely first-round pick and potential top-10 selection. He finishes the 2020 season with 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns. His 12 receiving touchdowns led the Gators offense despite missing three games. Oh, and it was good enough to set a single-season record at Florida in just eight games. He was second on the team in receptions and receiving yards.
While he didn't lead his team in receiving yards, Pitts did lead the nation in receiving yards among tight ends despite playing in fewer games than most of his competition. He was also one of the elite chain-movers in the country this season, as 35 of his 43 receptions resulted in a first down, and 90.7% of his receptions resulted in a first down or a touchdown. That was the highest rate of any player in the country with at least 25 receptions.