COUGAR SPORTS SATURDAY

BYU Tight Ends Primed For Larger Role In Offensive Strategy

Jul 8, 2020, 12:22 PM
Photo: Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey...
Photo: Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

PROVO, Utah – There’s a lot of unknowns in the world of college sports right now. Will there be fans in the stands? Will the season even happen? We won’t have a clearer picture on that for a few weeks.

One thing that is clear however for Brigham Young football, the tight end room is loaded with talent. If there’s a season, it’s not a stretch to say this will be the best tight end group since Dennis Pitta and Andrew George back in 2009.

“We will definitely, no matter who it is, play some 12 and 21 personnel,” said tight end coach Steve Clark recently on Cougar Sports Saturday. “It comes down to matchups. How can we match up better with the defense?”

The offensive scheme is predicated on matchups. The Cougar coaching staff wants to expose weaknesses and the tight end position could end up being the best way to do that this fall.

Matt Bushman is the star of the group and he’ll be expected to produce like other great BYU tight ends in the senior seasons. He’s not the only capable tight end in the room. Guys like Carter Wheat, Isaac Rex, and Hank Tuipulotu have been praised by Coach Clark. However, it’s unlikely to see Tuipulotu this season while he recovers from a second knee injury.

Make no mistake about it, there will be a large role for Isaac Rex in this offense. He will have plenty of opportunities to become one of the more valuable playmakers in this offense.

Rex returned from a mission in Samoa prior to last season and played in three games during his redshirt year. He only caught one pass, but credits those game repetitions in helping him shake off the rust.

“Being able to get out there on the field, it’s a lot different than practice,” said Rex. “It’s a lot different atmosphere on the field, it goes a lot faster. You’re going against different opponents so honestly getting those three games was huge.”

Now heading into his redshirt freshman season Rex was a standout performer during the first week of spring ball. He was targeted often by the quarterbacks during the media portion of practice, setting the stage for a prominent role in the offense.

“I have pretty high expectations for myself,” said Rex. “I want to run a lot of 12 personnel with the offense. Matt is the number one. He’s proven himself, he’s the man. I think he’s the best tight end in college football. But I want me and Matt to go at it in 12 personnel, I think that would be really cool. It’s on me to prove that we can run that.”

All indications are that BYU fans can expect to see both tight ends on the field quite often.

BYU Tight End Sleeper Picks

Each week on Cougar Sports Saturday until the season begins, Mitch Harper and Matt Baiamonte will be previewing position groups. Each week they select players weekly from each position group who are being slept on to make a name for themselves this season. The last position preview on the show was the tight end group.

Matt Baiamonte’ sleeper pick: Sophomore Masen Wake

“He’s very trusted as a run blocker. He played in twelve games last year and did you know he had back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons at Lone Peak high school? This guy is physical and tough. He’s proven he can block and he’s going to see the field.”

Mitch Harper’s sleeper pick: Junior Lane Lunt

“He’s a walk-on, junior college transfer that played two years ago at Eastern Arizona JC. They shut down their football program, he has no home to go to and now he’s at BYU. He’s a big-bodied receiver and there’s an opportunity for Lane to compete with Carter Wheat. He could be that next in line after Bushman and Rex.”

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