Florida Gators X-Factor vs. Kentucky: TE Kyle Pitts

Facing off against the best passing defense the SEC has had to offer in 2020, the Florida Gators return star TE and X-Factor Kyle Pitts to the lineup.
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24 receptions, 414 yards, and a position-leading 8 touchdown receptions.

Accruing these statistics in just five outings on the season, Florida Gators star tight end Kyle Pitts has been a major focus of UF's uber-talented passing attack.

However, after suffering a concussion and broken nose at the hands of Georgia defensive back Lewis Cine, Pitts found himself on the shelf for the past two matchups against Arkansas and Vanderbilt.

Set to make his anticipated return to action against Kentucky on Saturday, Pitts is being thrust back into action with intentions to pick up where he left off in the first half against Georgia, where he hauled in two receptions for 59 yards and a score.

With his imminent come back looming, the imposing pass-catcher earns the title of Florida Gators X-Factor versus the Kentucky Wildcats.

Since Dan Mullen took over the Gators program following the 2017 season in which then-head coach Jim McElwain orchestrated an abysmal 4-7 season, a decade of offensive stagnancy begun to change for the better.

The immediate turnaround that has occurred since Mullen arrived has been one for the books and has culminated with the best offensive production Florida has experienced statistically since the 2001 season in 2020.

Scoring nearly 45 points per game, the Gators have heavily relied upon spreading the ball around to create opportunities to move up and down the field all season long.

Despite a number of different players getting involved throughout the year—13 players have caught two or more passes—Pitts has consistently remained a primary focal point of the prolific offense.

Standing at 6-foot-6, 240-pounds, the projected first-round prospect accompanies a big-bodied physique with top-tier movement and receiving skills. As an anomaly of any tight end that has preceded him—given his fluid route running prowess, ability to stretch the field, as well as a towering presence in the red zone—Kyle Trask and company are enabled to operate effectively just by eighty-four lining up on the field.

Not to mention the incredible numbers he has the knack to post in the box score as well.

Beginning the season with twelve receptions, 227 yards, and six touchdowns against Ole Miss and South Carolina in the first two weeks, Pitts has carries that momentum throughout the rest of the season, scoring in all but one contest (Missouri) he has participated in.

Before his absence, Pitts was a large part of the Gators offense for good reason as the Philadelphia native is widely considered the most dangerous receiving threat in all of college football.

Averaging 17.3 yards per touch and leading the Gators in touchdowns with eight despite playing in two and a half games less than his teammates, the importance of his presence on the UF offense is deemed quite large given the incredible plays he can make.

However, some takes that fell short of the truth were those that believed UF's offensive success stopped and started with the future first-rounder. 

Inactive in the past two games, the offense proved they could flourish without Pitts in the lineup if necessary, producing 589.5 yards per game and a combined scoring total of 101 points.

As a result, UF increased the legitimacy of its offensive firepower in the eyes of many around the nation and demonstrated that Pitts is not a necessity of their offensive success, but instead a rather strong asset.

When playing the Southeastern Conference's top passing defense this Saturday, Florida will be elated to get back such an asset, looking to proclaim his return to college football with a monstrous performance against Kentucky.