If there was anyone who looked the part at Pitt’s spring practices, it was Gavin Bartholomew. While he wasn’t small by any means as a freshman, he looked every bit of his 6-foot-5, 260-pound frame this spring.
He put on five pounds of muscle, grew into his role as the leader of Pitt’s tight end room and is ready to shoulder immense expectations entering his sophomore season.
Bartholomew earned freshman All-American honors following his first season in Pittsburgh, and the preseason honors are already rolling in. The 2022 John Mackey Award, the award given to the most outstanding tight end in college football, included him on its preseason watchlist.
Mackey Award 🏆 Watch List
Gavin Bartholomew 8️⃣6️⃣
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) July 22, 2022
As a freshman early enrollee in 2021, Bartholomew formed a one-two punch with Lucas Krull and made an instant impact with his opportunity.
The former Buffalo commit and unheralded recruit out of Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania impressed during the 2021 spring practices and proved that he was more just a flash in a pan. He caught 28 balls for 326 yards and four touchdowns and served as a capable pass blocker when his number was called upon.
With new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. running Pitt’s offense now, his pro-style offensive scheme features a heavy emphasis on tight end usage — look no further than Miami Dolphin Hunter Long’s time at Boston College for how Bartholomew could be used in Pitt’s offense. It bodes well for Bartholomew’s continued growth, and he’s continuing to work himself.
“We were in (the weight room) pretty much every day besides Wednesday,” Bartholomew said in the spring. “Rehabbing my body, getting better at recovery so I can get bigger and stronger. And offseason speed workouts.”
With a self-imposed emphasis on continuing to grow as a blocker this season, Bartholomew is truly primed for a superstar breakout. He’s big, strong and more than capable of stretching the field as a receiving tight end in Pitt’s offense.
Bartholomew is joined by Miami’s Will Mallory, Louisville’s Marshon Ford, Clemson’s David Allen, Wake Forest’s Blake Whitehart and Boston College’s George Takacs from the ACC.
The Mackey Award will continue to be whittled down throughout the season until the winner is announced in December.