Dennis Pitta was born on June 29, 1985, in Fresno, California, to Dennis and Linda Pitta. His father played college football. Pitta attended Moorpark High School where he earned letters in football, basketball, and track. He played football as a wide receiver and cornerback. As a senior, he was named a first-team all-county, all-league, and all-area player. He was a scholar-athlete all four years in high school and was also named a National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete. 
Pitta attended Brigham Young University where he walked-on as a wide receiver. He played tight end, garnering more and more attention for his talent. He left college to serve a 2-year LDS mission to the Dominican Republic. Returning to BYU in 2007, he finished the season as the nation's fifth-leading tight end in yards per game at 63. Pitta was named to the All-Mountain West Conference (MWC) first team, and he also received Academic All-MWC honors.
In 2008 Pitta finished the season as the team's second-leading receiver. He was a Lombardi Award and Biletnikoff Award candidate, and a Mackey Award semifinalist. Pitta was named to the All-MWC first team, and again received Academic All-MWC honors. College Football News and Sports Illustrated named him an honorable mention All-American, and Rivals.com named him to its All-America third team.
- "He was one of three finalists for the Mackey Award. He was named to the 2009 All-MWC first team and the 2009 AFCA Coaches' All-America team. He received weekly honors from the College Football Performance Awards on multiple occasions. He was named 2009 Elite Tight End Trophy Recipient by the College Football Performance Awards, and the first non-BCS trophy recipient since 2001. He received the award at the Marriott Center on the BYU campus on December 8, 2009, at halftime of the BYU-Arizona State men's basketball game."
Pitta was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round (114th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. He was signed to a three-year contract on June 21, 2010, playing tight end. His height/weight is recorded as 6'5" and 245 pounds.