6’ 5” 250 lbs.
Strengths: Size, Speed, Route Running, Strength, Hands, Clutch Play, Thick Upper Body
Weaknesses: Blocking, Age, Potential
As clutch a receiver as there is in the country, Dennis Pitta is one of college football’s most feared pass catchers for his combination of size, speed, hands and silky smooth route running. The senior TE is coming off a great season which saw him earn All-America 3rd-Team honours after catching 83 balls for 1,083 yards and 6 TD.
For his career, Pitta has 159 catches for 2,072 yards and 13 TD. He earned 1st-Team All-MWC in 2007 after leading all MWC TE with 59 catches. He set a conference record for TE with 213 yards against Northern Iowa to kick off the 2008 season and his 83 catches last year is a BYU and NWC record for TE. He currently sits 2nd in BYU annals for catches by a TE and is only 19 away from tying Clay Brown with 178.
Even as BYU’s 3rd option in the passing game opponents schemed against Pitta, collapsing coverage to the middle of the field to force the ball outside and often rolling double- and triple-coverage at Pitta. The presence of Pitta did wonders for Colts 4th round pick, WR Austin Collie, opening the field for the senior to catch 105 passes for 1,538 yards and 15 TD. This year, Pitta will be taking pressure off of youngsters like JR Luke Ashworth (3-49-0 in ’08), JR Tyler Kozlowski (3-31-0), Soph O’Neill Chambers (3-42-1), and Soph Spencer Hafoka (1-5-0). The Cougar receiving corps enters the 2009 season with exactly 10 catches, the aforementioned 10 catches to be precise. Add it up and Pitta will be the favourite target of brother-in-law and Cougars QB Max Hall.
The senior TE has been a clutch performer for BYU and his performance against Colorado State immediately comes to mind. Pitta caught a career high 12 catches in racking up 175 yards and 2 TD. Both of his TD came in the fourth quarter, the second coming with just 22 seconds left to put BYU ahead 45-42.
Pitta is not asked to be a blocker so it is an underutilized and underrated aspect of his game. Pitta is naturally strong. His technique will need work but the core strength is there for Pitta to develop. He has a thick upper body with room to grow minimally. He is not a freak athlete per se, but he does possess an exciting combination of size and speed to make him a nightmare for a defence. He likely runs around a late 4.6/40 but is a tremendous route runner with an excellent understanding of how to get open and be in the right place at the right time. His maturity and intelligence, combined with his amazing hands, makes Pitta one of the toughest matchups in college today. Few LB can run with him and fewer DB can match his strength.
A 2-year church mission makes Pitta a bit older than a typical senior as he actually started college in 2003. While some will see this as a hindrance to his potential, it makes him a typical BYU prospect: a mature young man. Pitta’s potential may be about at its maximum but he is still a very good prospect. His numbers are inflated playing for pass happy BYU is a weaker conference and he will need to prove he can handle the speed of the pros, like most rookies, but he’s almost too smart to fail. Despite catching and yards totals, only has 13 TD in his career.
Pitta is underrated and will likely stay underrated right up till the 2010 draft when someone grabs him in the mid-2nd round, if not earlier. He is a pass catching demon that can work the middle of the field and draw defenders. One of the better receiving TE in college, Pitta is a big season away from being a high draft pick.