Dennis Pitta: The next Heap?

It wasn’t a secret that the Ravens wanted a TE in this years draft and when Gresham was taken before the Ravens first pick, they knew they could get a solid guy in later rounds.

So with their 114th pick they decided to fill the TE hole with Dennis Pitta out of BYU.

Born in Fresno Calif., Pitta was a religious child and as he got bigger he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps as a football player. He attended Moorpark High School where he earned letters in football, basketball and track. His 64 receptions for 1,150 yards and 13 TD’s in his senior year earned Pitta first-team all-county and all-area honors. Pitta was also named a National Football Scholar Athlete.

Although Pitta received offers from Yale, Dartmouth, Navy, Oregon, Oklahoma State and Utah he decided to go with Brigham Young University. In his freshman year he led all BYU tight ends in receptions (17), yards (176) and touchdown receptions (two). While those aren’t impressive numbers, they’re not bad for a freshman.

Here’s where Pitta’s statistics get a little confusing. While looking him up I couldn’t understand why he had numbers in 2004, but then didn’t have anything else until 2007. Turns out, Pitta participated in a Mormon mission in the Dominican Republic, which caused a two-year hiatus in his college football career.

Although he missed two years, Pitta didn’t miss a step in his return to the field. In his sophomore year in ‘07 Pitta finished the season as the fifth-ranked TE, averaging 63 yards per game. He led all TE’s in the Mid-Western Conference with 59 receptions on the season, averaging 4.5 per game and caught five touchdowns on the season, leading all MWC tight ends.

Pitta’s two years following his Mission to the D.R. were very impressive for a college TE.

As a junior in ‘08 he caught 11 passes for 213 yards in a game against Northern Iowa, which landed him a school receiving record and TE of the week honors. He ended the ‘08 season second on the team with 1,083 reception yards on 83 catches with six touchdowns.

As a senior, Pitta was named team captain and his 62 catches for a team-leading 829 yards and eight touchdowns landed him a bunch of national honors. Some of these include: NCAA Consensus All-American tight end, first-team All-America by Walter Camp, AFCA and Pro Football Weekly and a unanimous All-MWC First Team Selection.

Pitta finished his college career as BYU’s all-time leader in career receptions (216) and consecutive games with at least one catch (42). Not too bad for a player who made the team as a walk on.

With Heap getting older, a lot of eyes will be on the young TE. No one really stepped up last season as a second option and this could turn into a role that Pitta could fill in 2010. The kids college numbers are impressive, hopefully he can bring that to the Baltimore Ravens in ‘10.

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