Dan Mullen reacts to Kyle Pitts opting out of bowl game, entering NFL Draft
Falling, 52-46, to the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0) in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on December 19, the No. 7 Florida Gators wrapped up their regular season at 8-3.
On Sunday, the Gators found out their bowl placement, set to play the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners (8-2) in the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on December 30 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Florida will be without junior tight end Kyle Pitts against the Sooners, however, as he opted-out of the game on Sunday and will begin preparing for the 2021 National Football League Draft, where many experts have him pegged as a first-round selection.
Playing in eight of the Gators’ games, the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native established himself as redshirt senior quarterback Kyle Trask’s favorite target, catching 43 passes for 770 yards (17.9 avg.) and 12 touchdowns.
Surpassing 100 yards in three contests, including the loss to Alabama, the yardage and touchdown totals were career-highs for Pitts.
Addressing the media virtually on Sunday, third-year head coach Dan Mullen understood and supported his decision to move on to the next phase of his career.
Senior wide receivers Trevon Grimes and Kadarius Toney, as well as Trask, also have decisions to make about participating in the Cotton Bowl, but Mullen said he has not spoken to the trio yet.
#Gators Mullen on other Florida opt-outs: "Pitts is the only one I've talked to… I think everybody's just trying to catch their breath here for 24 hours. I don't have any other reports of who will and will not play the bowl game for us."
— Mari Faiello (@faiello_mari) December 20, 2020
Two of college football’s most storied programs, Florida and Oklahoma have only met once prior, with the Gators winning the 2009 Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship Game, 24-14, at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.