BYU tight end Dennis Pitta was deemed good enough to be named to the prestigious Walter Camp Football Foundation All-America Team during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show Thursday night.
But, curiously, he did not receive the John Mackey Award, emblematic of the nation's top tight end.
That honor went to Florida junior Aaron Hernandez.
Pitta leads all tight ends this season in total receiving yards (784) and receiving yards per game (65.33) and was second in receptions per game (4.75) — in 12 games. He's caught 57 passes and seven touchdowns. The senior from Moorpark, Calif., became the Cougars' all-time leader in total receptions overall (216) and needs only two more receptions to move past Louisville's Ibn Green (1996-99) as the NCAA's tight-end career leader in catches. Pitta is the NCAA career leader in tight-end receiving yards (2,856).
Hernandez caught 59 passes for 739 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games, and averaged 56.85 receiving yards per game.
"That ticks me off. That's brutal," former BYU and NFL All-Pro tight end Chad Lewis said in reaction to Pitta not winning the Mackey Award. He added that Pitta is "absolutely deserving" to be on the Walter Camp All-America Team.
"I sent Dennis a text (message) earlier today and told him, 'No matter what happens today, you are the best tight end in the country. Keep dominating. Good luck.' That was my message to him," Lewis said.
Pitta did not participate in BYU's practice Thursday because he was in Las Vegas, attending a Las Vegas Bowl news conference along with coach Bronco Mendenhall. Pitta was not available for comment Thursday night.
Voting for the Mackey Award, according to the Mackey Award Web site, "is determined by confidential balloting of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee, which is composed of respected members of the media and former NFL players."
Meanwhile, legendary BYU coach LaVell Edwards was in Orlando, Fla., to receive the NCFAA Contributions to College Football Award Thursday night during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show. Edwards, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004, was in New York City on Monday to attend former Cougar tight end Gordon Hudson's College Football Hall of Fame induction.