By Samuel Njoku
Dennis Pitta, TE, #88
Hometown: Moorpark, CA
College: Brigham Young
Experience: 3 years
The Ravens were in possession of one of the most prolific tight ends in the NFL. Next to Shannon Sharpe, there may not have been a better tight end in a Ravens uniform. Todd Heap was beloved by all in Baltimore, so it came as a shock in 2010 when the Ravens would draft 2 tight ends in rounds 2 and 4. That would be the end for Todd Heap as he was released a year later. It would be the end of an era for the fans of Baltimore, and the beginning of something special for tight end Dennis Pitta.
Pitta played wide receiver and cornerback in high school. His numbers as a WR were impressive. In his final year, he finished with 64 catches for 1,150 yards and 13 touchdowns. That type of play would garner interest from a plethora of schools, but with no scholarship offered, Pitta decided to walk on at Brigham Young University. Pitta switched positions soon after signing with the university. He earned a scholarship soon afterwards and began to learn the tight end position. Similar to his teammate Paul Kruger, Dennis decided to take 2 years away from football as he participated in missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
When he returned in 2007, he finished the year with 53 catches for a little over 800 yards and 5 touchdowns. Pitta would dwarf that performance the following year and catch 83 passes for over 1000 yards and six touchdowns. He finished his collegiate career breaking the school record for receptions. Current NFL WR Austin Collie previously held that mark. He would also finished 3rd in both season and career receiving yards. That would catapult him into the national spotlight and turn him into an NFL prospect. Pitta would get drafted in the 4th round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens.
Dennis Pitta had finally made it to the NFL but would fight for playing time with a much more athletic Ed Dickson who was drafted two rounds earlier. But it quickly became evident that Pitta was Flacco’s favorite target. His skill set reminded analysts and fans of another famous tight end. Todd Heap could jump and make the impressive grab on a weekly basis. This skill set was an invaluable tool for Flacco and he has targeted him more than any other receiver in the locker room.
Speaking of the locker room, Pitta is a favorite their as well. Perennial Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs coined the term “The white tight-end” that seems to have become a fan favorite. During one interview, Suggs went on record saying: “He’s so Beautiful…he’s like a unicorn or a Minotaur.”
The team knows how special Pitta is as much as the coaches. When Pitta left the game early against the Steelers 2 weeks ago, the offense stalled. When Pitta returned to action against the Chargers, the offense was potent. Pitta deserves Pro Bowl consideration this year. If he continues to perform the way he has, he just might get it.
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Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.