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Dennis Pitta
BYU CougarsNo. 32
Tight end Redshirt Senior
Major: Unknown
Date of birth: c. 1985 (age 24–25)
Place of birth: Fresno, California
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Weight: 247 lb (112 kg)
Career history
High school: Moorpark High School,
Moorpark, California
Bowl games
Career highlights and awards
Stats at CBS

Dennis Pitta is an American college football tight end. He recently finished his last season for the BYU Cougars at Brigham Young University, where he was an All-American and 2009 Elite Trophy Recipient of the College Football Performance Awards.


Early life

He was born in Fresno, California to parents Dennis and Linda Pitta. His father played college football as a middle linebacker for California from 1968 to 1969. Dennis Pitta attended Moorpark High School where he earned letters in football, basketball, and track. He played football as a wide receiver and cornerback,[2] and his large size made him difficult to cover.[3] As a senior in 2002, Pitta recorded 64 receptions for 1,150 yards and 13 touchdowns. That season, he was named a first-team all-county, all-league, and all-area player.[2] He was a scholar-athlete all four years in high school and was also named a National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete. Pitta was shown interest by Dartmouth, Navy, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Utah, and Yale,[2] but no Division I school offered him a scholarship.[4]

College career

Pitta chose to attend Brigham Young University, where he walked onto the football team as a wide receiver. Pitta was moved to tight end by head coach Gary Crowton, where he soon earned a scholarship.[4] He sat out the 2003 season on "grayshirt" status.[2] In 2004, he saw significant playing time as a result of an injury to starter Daniel Coats.[5] Pitta recorded 17 receptions for 176 yards and two touchdowns,[2] and actually finished the season with more receptions than Coats.[5] Both of his scores came in the game against Air Force,[2] where he also blocked a punt upon which BYU capitalized for a score.[4]

Pitta then participated in a Mormon mission in the Dominican Republic,[2] which caused a two-year hiatus in his college football career.[5][6] He returned to BYU for the 2007 season, and recorded 59 receptions for 813 yards and five touchdowns.[7] He finished the season as the nation's fifth-leading tight end in yards per game at 63. Pitta was named to the All-Mountain West Conference (MWC) first team, and he also received Academic All-MWC honors.[2]

In 2008, he recorded 83 receptions for 1,083 yards and six touchdowns.[7] Against Northern Iowa, he compiled 213 yards, which broke the conference receiving yards record for a tight end and earned him the John Mackey Tight End of the Week honors. Against Colorado State, he caught the game-winning 17-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Max Hall, and was named the John Mackey Tight End of the Week and a MWC Co-Offensive Player of the Week. Pitta finished the season as the team's second-leading receiver. He was a Lombardi Award and Biletnikoff Award candidate, and a Mackey Award semifinalist.[8] Pitta was named to the All-MWC first team, and again received Academic All-MWC honors. College Football News and Sports Illustrated named him an honorable mention All-American, and named him to its All-America third team.[2]

Prior to the 2009 season, The NFL Draft Scout, a CBS Sports affiliate, rated Pitta as the sixth-ranked out of 92 tight ends available for the 2010 NFL Draft. They project him as being selected in the third or fourth round.[9] Phil Steele's assessed him as the fourth-ranked draft-eligible tight end and placed him on its preseason All-America fourth team.[10]

He was one of three finalists for the Mackey Award. He was named to the 2009 All-MWC first team and the 2009 AFCA Coaches' All-America team. He received weekly honors from the College Football Performance Awards on multiple occasions.[11][12] He was named 2009 Elite Tight End Trophy Recipient by the College Football Performance Awards, and the first non-BCS trophy recipient since 2001.[13] He received the award at the Marriott Center on the BYU campus on December 8, 2010 at halftime of the BYU-Arizona State men's basketball game.[14]

Dennis Pitta, Reception Records in BYU Cougars football History[15]

Category Number BYU Rank, All Time Notes
Career receptions 216[16] 1st Passed Austin Collie (215) in 2009
Career receiving yards 2,856 4th 1st for TEs[17]
Season receiving yards 1,083 4th 1st for TEs
Career receiving touchdowns 20 20th (tie: Manase Tonga) 2nd for TEs behind Gordon Hudson (22)


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