11:02 AM ET
Mark SchlabachESPN Senior Writer
- Senior college football writer
- Author of seven books on college football
- Graduate of the University of Georgia
Pitts, a junior from Philadelphia, is considered a potential top-10 pick.
“After much prayer and consideration and speaking with my family, I will forego my senior year and enter the 2021 NFL draft and will not be playing in the bowl game,” Pitts wrote on Twitter. “I am eager to pursue my dreams of playing in the NFL. But I will always be a Gator.”
Florida coach Dan Mullen said he supported Pitts’ decision.
“You completely respect it,” Mullen said. “He’s a guy that has the opportunity to be a top-10 pick in the NFL draft, a phenomenal athlete, the premier tight end, I think, in the country. I give him a lot of credit for working his tail off to try to get healthy enough to go play last night’s game. Had a huge game. We talked that he’s going to go prepare for that next step.”
Pitts (6-foot-6, 239 pounds) is ranked No. 1 among tight ends by ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. Kiper ranks Pitts as the No. 7 prospect overall; McShay ranks him 10th.
Pitts has 43 catches for 770 yards with 12 touchdowns in eight games this season for the Gators, who are expected to be selected to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game on Sunday. He had seven receptions for 129 yards with one score in a 52-46 loss to No. 1 Alabama in Saturday night’s SEC championship game.