BYU Football’s Top 5 Senior Seasons At Tight End

Jul 2, 2020, 11:21 AM
byu football tight ends...
Brigham Young University's Jonny Harline celebrates his last minute touchdown catch leading his team to a 33-31 win over the University of Utah in football at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake, Utah Saturday Nov. 25, 2006. (August Miller/ Deseret News)
(August Miller/ Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The tradition of BYU Football is deep, especially at tight end.

We can name the great quarterbacks that have come through Provo but tight end has been another strong position in Cougar history.

Players like Dennis Pitta, Jonny Harline and Gordon Hudson lit up the field with consistent play and big-time catches.

Matt Bushman, who is entering his senior season, will be looking to make a lasting mark on BYU with a big-time senior year. An attention-grabbing senior season for Bushman, who has led BYU in receiving in three consecutive years, could help an NFL prospect secure his position as a highly sought-after early-round draft pick.

This week on Cougar Sports Saturday the team put together their top senior seasons at the tight end position.

5. Dennis Pitta (2009)

Yes, Pitta is probably the greatest tight end in BYU history. His junior year, where he had 83 receptions and over 1000 yards, is one of the best individual seasons by any BYU receiver, let alone a tight end.

However, that stellar season brought with it extra attention. Pitta continued to dominate, with 62 receptions for 829 yards and 8 touchdowns. Andrew George was the beneficiary of all that attention, having an impactful senior season in his own right.

Dennis Pitta may be the GOAT of BYU tight ends and he proved that with three consistent, highly productive seasons.

4. David Mills (1984)

Mills isn’t the first BYU tight end that pops in your head, but there’s no doubt that he made his presence known as a senior.

He hardly had an impact until 1984, with Gordon Hudson ahead of him on the depth chart, but in the year of the championship, he became a key piece to the BYU offense. He led the team in receptions and yards and helped make history with the Cougars. Mills had 60 receptions for 1023 yards to go along with 7 touchdowns.

3. Chris Smith (1990)

Smith, together with Andy Boyce, created a two-headed monster for QB Ty Detmer. Both players had over 1000 receiving yards, a feat that has only been accomplished one other time (Austin Collie and Dennis Pitta in 2008).

In fact, his senior season of 74 receptions for 1262 yards and 3 touchdowns gave him back-to-back 1000 yard seasons as a receiver, the only player in BYU history to carry out that feat.

2. Jonny Harline (2006)

Jonny Harline is still open. His game-winning catch against Utah was the biggest moment in what was an incredible senior season.

In 2006, Harline led the team with 935 receiving yards on 58 receptions and an impressive 12 touchdowns. His connection with QB John Beck was an all-time pairing and helped the Cougars reach 11 wins on the season, including an all-time victory over the rival Utes.

1. Clay Brown (1980)

The #1 offense in the country in 1980 was led by quarterback Jim McMahon and his big target at tight end Clay Brown.

Brown had 53 receptions for 1164 yards and a staggering 18 touchdowns. In the 1980 Holiday Bowl, he continued to impress with 155 receiving yards and, of course, the miraculous TD catch with time expired to set up a BYU victory.

Brown didn’t have a consistently productive career as some other Cougar tight ends, but his senior season is easily the greatest in BYU history.

Listen to Cougar Sports Saturday each Saturday from Noon to 3:00 p.m. leading up to the first game for position previews and sleeper picks each and every week.

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