Open main menu

George Krieger Kittle (born October 9, 1993) is an American football tight end for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes.

George Kittle
refer to caption
Kittle with the 49ers in 2017
No. 85 – San Francisco 49ers
Position:Tight end
Personal information
Born: (1993-10-09) October 9, 1993 (age 25)
Madison, Wisconsin
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:250 lb (113 kg)
Career information
High school:Norman (Norman, Oklahoma)
NFL Draft:2017 / Round: 5 / Pick: 146
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2018
Receiving yards:1,892
Receiving touchdowns:7
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

In 2018, Kittle set the single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end, with 1,377, and earned his first Pro Bowl selection in the process.


Early yearsEdit

Kittle was born in Madison, Wisconsin and moved to Iowa at a young age. He attended Iowa City West High School in Iowa City, Iowa, Cedar Falls High School in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Norman High School in Norman, Oklahoma.[1][2] He committed to the University of Iowa to play college football.[3] His father, Bruce Kittle, also played at Iowa and is a former college football coach.[4]

College careerEdit

Kittle played at Iowa from 2013 to 2016 under head coach Kirk Ferentz.[1][5][6] As a freshman, Kittle had a limited role behind senior C. J. Fiedorowicz, junior Ray Hamilton, and sophomore Jake Duzey.[7] He had his first collegiate reception, which went for 47 yards, against the Missouri State Bears.[8] Overall, he caught three passes for 108 yards.[9] Iowa's tight end unit remained crowded for Kittle in the 2014 season. Along with the return of Hamilton and Duzey, junior Henry Krieger-Coble added to the depth. Kittle had a lone reception for 25 yards against Maryland as his only catch of the season.[10] Kittle's role expanded in the 2015 season. On September 26, 2015, against North Texas, he scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 43-yard reception from quarterback C. J. Beathard.[11] Overall, Kittle had 20 receptions for 290 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns in the 2015 season.[12] His six receiving touchdowns ranked sixth in the Big Ten Conference.[13] As a senior in the 2016 season, Kittle headlined a tight end unit that contained junior Peter Pekar and freshman Noah Fant.[14] He had his best statistical game against North Dakota State with five receptions for 110 receiving yards.[15] In his senior season, he had 22 receptions for 314 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns.[16] During his collegiate career, Kittle had 48 receptions for 737 yards and 10 touchdowns.[17]

College statisticsEdit

George Kittle Receiving
Year Team GP Rec Yards Avg TDs
2013 Iowa 3 5 108 21.6 0
2014 Iowa 3 1 25 25.0 0
2015 Iowa 10 20 290 14.5 6
2016 Iowa 9 22 314 14.3 4
Career 22 48 737 15.4 10

Professional careerEdit

As a top tight end prospect, Kittle was one of 19 collegiate tight ends to receive an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana. He completed the majority of drills, but opted to skip the short shuttle and three-cone drill. Kittle's overall performance was well perceived, as he finished third among tight ends in the broad jump, fifth in the 40-yard dash, and finished sixth among his position group in the vertical jump.[18] On March 27, 2017, Kittle participated at Iowa's Pro Day, along with C. J. Beathard, Desmond King, Jaleel Johnson, Greg Mabin, Riley McCarron, and four other prospects. He completed his combine drills, finishing the short shuttle (4.55s), three-cone drill, and also ran positional drills. Scouts and team representatives from all 32 NFL teams attended, including Cincinnati Bengals' tight end coach Jonathan Hayes.[19] At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Kittle was projected to be a third or fourth round pick by NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked the fifth best tight end prospect in the draft by NFL analyst Mike Mayock, sixth best by NFL analyst Gil Brandt, and was ranked the eighth best tight end by[20][21][22]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 4 in
(1.93 m)
247 lb
(112 kg)
33 18 in
(0.84 m)
9 14 in
(0.23 m)
4.52 s 1.59 s 2.65 s 4.55 s 7.00 s 35 in
(0.89 m)
11 ft 0 in
(3.35 m)
18 reps
All values from NFL Combine[23][20]

2017 season: Rookie yearEdit

The San Francisco 49ers selected Kittle in the fifth round (146th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.[24] He was reunited with Iowa teammate C. J. Beathard, whom the San Francisco 49ers drafted in the third round (104th overall).[25]

External video
  49ers draft George Kittle 146th overall

On May 4, 2017, the San Francisco 49ers signed Kittle to a four-year, $2.69 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $298,287.[26]

Throughout training camp, he competed against Garrett Celek, Vance McDonald, Logan Paulsen, Blake Bell, and Cole Hikutini for the job as the starting tight end. Head coach Kyle Shanahan named Kittle the starting tight end to start the regular season.[27]

Kittle made his first start and NFL debut in the 49ers' season-opener against the Carolina Panthers and caught five passes for 27 yards in a 23–3 loss.[28] He caught his first NFL reception on a 13-yard pass from Brian Hoyer on the first drive and was tackled by Panthers' safety Mike Adams.[29] On October 8, 2017, Kittle made seven receptions for 83-yards and caught his first career touchdown on a 5-yard pass from Hoyer during a 26–23 overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts.[30] During a Week 9 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, Kittle caught three passes for 27 yards, before leaving the 20–10 loss with a leg injury.[31] He was inactive due to the injury and missed the following game against the New York Giants.[32]

Kittle finished his rookie season with 43 receptions for 515 yards and two touchdowns in 15 games.[33]

2018 seasonEdit

Kittle in 2018

In the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings, Kittle had five receptions for 90 yards in a 24–16 loss.[34] During Week 4 against the Los Angeles Chargers, Kittle recorded an 82-yard touchdown reception as part of a 125-yard performance as the 49ers narrowly lost by a score of 29–27.[35] During Week 7 against the Los Angeles Rams, he had five receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown in the 39–10 loss.[36] During Week 14 against the Denver Broncos, Kittle set a franchise record for reception yards by a tight end with 210 yards, all coming in the first half, as well as become the first 49ers tight end to surpass 1,000 receiving yards.[37] During Week 17 against the Los Angeles Rams, Kittle broke Travis Kelce's single-season receiving yards record for a tight end on a 43-yard touchdown and finished the season with 1,377 yards.[38][39]

NFL statisticsEdit

NFL record for tight end
49ers Franchise record for tight end
Bold Career high
Year Team Games Receiving Rushing Fumbles
GP GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2017 SF 15 7 43 515 12.0 44 2 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0
2018 SF 16 16 88 1,377 15.6 85T 5 1 10 10.0 10 0 0 0
Career 31 23 131 1,892 14.4 85T 7 1 10 10.0 10 0 0 0

NFL recordsEdit

  • Most receiving yards in a season by a tight end (1,377)
  • Most receiving yards in a half by a tight end (210)
  • First ever tight end to lead the league in Yards After Catch (870)

49ers franchise recordsEdit

  • Most receiving yards in a game by a tight end (210)
  • Most receptions by a tight end (88)[40]
  • First tight end to surpass 1,000 receiving yards[41]

Personal lifeEdit

As of September 2018, Kittle is engaged to Claire Till. Till played basketball at the University of Iowa, where they met.[42][43]

Kittle's Hawkeye ties are strong due to several family connections; his father, Bruce, was a co-captain on Iowa's 1982 Rose Bowl team. His cousins include Jess Settles, an excellent basketball player for Iowa in the mid-1990s, and former Iowa and Los Angeles Rams tight end Henry Krieger-Coble.[44]


  1. ^ a b Brown, Rick (September 30, 2015). "George Kittle returns to his roots at Wisconsin". Hawk Central. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  2. ^ Przybylo, Robert (June 24, 2011). "Super 30: Norman's George Kittle no longer new kid on the block". Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  3. ^ Aber, Ryan (February 1, 2012). "Iowa football recruiting: Norman's George Kittle signs with Iowa". Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  4. ^ Brown, Rick. "George Kittle returns to his roots at Wisconsin". Hawk Central. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  5. ^ Morehouse, Marc (November 11, 2016). "'Believe' always has carried Iowa's George Kittle". The Gazette. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  6. ^ Leistikow, Chad (August 13, 2015). "Athletic 'freak' George Kittle gives Hawkeyes exciting TE option". Hawk Central. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  7. ^ "2013 Iowa Hawkeyes Roster". College Football at Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  8. ^ "Missouri State at Iowa Box Score, September 7, 2013". College Football at Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  9. ^ "George Kittle 2013 Game Log". College Football at Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  10. ^ "George Kittle 2014 Game Log". College Football at Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  11. ^ Leistikow, Chad. "What makes Iowa the Big Ten's most-prolific big-play offense". Hawk Central. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  12. ^ "George Kittle 2015 Game Log". College Football at Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  13. ^ "2015 Big Ten Conference Leaders". College Football at Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  14. ^ "2016 Iowa Hawkeyes Roster". College Football at Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  15. ^ "North Dakota State at Iowa Box Score, September 17, 2016". College Football at Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  16. ^ "George Kittle 2016 Game Log". College Football at Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  17. ^ "George Kittle Career Game Log". College Football at Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  18. ^ Lyles Jr., Harry (March 5, 2016). "NFL Combine Results". Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  19. ^ Brandt, Gil (March 27, 2017). "Pro day results: Iowa, Houston, Villanova, WKU, Texas Southern". Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  20. ^ a b "George Kittle, DS #8 TE, Iowa". Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  21. ^ Mayock, Mike (April 27, 2017). "Mike Mayock's 2017 NFL Draft position rankings 4.0". Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  22. ^ Brandt, Gil (April 17, 2017). "Hot 150: Gil Brandt's top prospects for 2017 NFL Draft (101–150)". Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  23. ^ "Combine Player Profiles – George Kittle". National Football League. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  24. ^ Fann, Joe (April 29, 2017). "San Francisco 49ers Draft Iowa TE George Kittle". Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  25. ^ "2017 NFL Draft Listing". Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  26. ^ " George Kittle contract". Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  27. ^ " San Francisco 49ers' depth chart: 10/01/2017". Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  28. ^ "Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers – September 10th, 2017". Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  29. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 1–2017: Carolina Panthers @ San Francisco 49ers". Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  30. ^ "San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts – October 8th, 2017". Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  31. ^ RotoWire Staff (November 5, 2017). "49ers' George Kittle: Hurts leg Sunday". CBSSports. Retrieved December 19, 2017.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  32. ^ "NFL Player stats: George Kittle (2017)". Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  33. ^ "George Kittle 2017 Game Log". Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  34. ^ Branch, Eric (September 14, 2018). "49ers' George Kittle flashes intensity, skills in season opener". Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  35. ^ Larrabee, Kirk. "49ers connect on 82 yard touchdown pass from Beathard to Kittle". 247 Sports. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  36. ^ "49ers' George Kittle: Scores touchdown in loss to Rams". RotoWire Staff. Retrieved November 1, 2018.CS1 maint: others (link)
  37. ^ Branch, Eric (December 10, 2018). "49ers ride George Kittle's 210 receiving yards to upset win over Broncos". SFGate. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  38. ^ Chan, Jennifer Lee (December 30, 2018). "Kittle breaks Kelce's short-lived TE receiving yards record". NBCS Bay Area. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  39. ^ "George Kittle 2018 Game Log". Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  40. ^ "George Kittle Ends Historic Season with 88 catches, 1,377 Yards and Five Touchdowns". Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  41. ^ "TE George Kittle on historic pace for 49ers". Niners Wire. November 18, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  42. ^ Fucillo, David (January 12, 2019). "Five 49ers take in Iowa upset of Ohio State". Niners Nation. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  43. ^ Bonilla, David (September 27, 2018). "How tight end George Kittle used 49ers resources to propose to his girlfriend". 49ers Webzone. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  44. ^ " Draft Profile Page for George Kittle". George Kittle Draft Profile. Lance Zierlein. Retrieved November 2, 2018.

External linksEdit