2022 Will Be The Year Of The Wide Receiver For BYU

Jan 18, 2022, 2:00 PM | Updated: 10:21 pm
BYU Football - Gunner Romney...
BYU football wide receiver Gunner Romney hauls in a catch against the Arizona State Sun Devils. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – 2021 was another successful year for BYU Football. The Cougars followed up a breakout 2020 with another 10-win season, breaking the losing streak against the rival Utes, and setting themselves up to join the Big 12 conference in 2023. In 2022 BYU will look to go even further, this time into a New Year’s Six bowl game.

Last year was the year of the running back for BYU. Former walk-0n Tyler Allgeier built upon a solid 2020 with an all-time season in 2021. Allgeier climbed record books on his way to declaring for the NFL Draft. For much of the offseason, I discussed Allgeier’s imminent breakout during my weekly Top 5. It was easy to see that the junior running back was destined for a big year. Well, in 2022 I am staking my claim now! This year will be the year of the wide receiver.

Gunner Romney Poised To Join BYU Record Books

BYU is poised for another big season with quarterback Jaren Hall. He’ll have two big time targets in Puka Nacua and fifth-year senior Gunner Romney. Romney’s return is massive for BYU; he’s an NFL talent. The combination of Nacua and Romney, with the young talent behind them, will be a handful for any opposing defense.

In four seasons with BYU, Gunner Romney has 117 receptions, 1900 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. With many years already under his belt, Romney has a chance to cement his name in BYU record books and help his Cougars have a record-breaking season. Here is the the Top 5 in career receptions at BYU, as heard on the “Top 5” segment on Cougar Sports Saturday (KSL Newsradio, Noon-3pm).

Top 5 in Career Receptions at BYU

1) Cody Hoffman (2010-13)

Hoffman is one of BYU’s most underrated players. He holds the BYU record for career receptions, and it’s not particularly close. Hoffman pulled in 260 catches, 39 ahead of the next player. He had at least 40 receptions and 500 receiving yards in all four seasons played in Provo.

Hoffman’s biggest season was in 2012. Catching passes from quarterbacks Riley Nelson and James Lark, Hoffman had 100 receptions for 1248 yards and 11 touchdowns. In the regular season finale against New Mexico State, Hoffman had 12 catches for 184 yards and a BYU single-game record 5 touchdowns.

2) Dennis Pitta (2004, 2007-09)

The greatest to play tight end at BYU, Pitta was an unstoppable force for the Cougars. Pitta had 221 career receptions and is the only tight end in the Top 5. After returning from his mission for the 2007 season, Pitta was incredibly consistent for BYU.

Pitta was a part of a record-setting duo in 2008. He had 83 receptions for 1083 yards and 6 touchdowns. Pitta’s running mate that season, who we will discuss here shortly, also eclipsed 1000 yards that season. Both players benefited from an all-time season from quarterback Max Hall.

3) Austin Collie (2004, 2007-08)

It didn’t take us long to get to BYU’s Austin Collie. Collie had 215 career receptions, barely trailing his 2008 teammate Dennis Pitta. In just three seasons, Collie soared up BYU record books and solidified his case as BYU’s greatest wide receiver. Alongside the big tight end, Collie put up monster numbers in 2008.

His season was the greatest we’ve seen from a BYU wide receiver. Collie had 106 receptions for 1538 yards and 15 touchdowns, all of which are single-season records at BYU. Collie wisely jumped to the NFL after that 2008 season, joining Peyton Manning in Indianapolis as a 4th round draft pick.

4) Matt Bellini (1987-90)

Bellini isn’t a name that first comes to mind when you think of great BYU wide receivers, but he deserves his recognition here. Bellini had 204 career receptions at BYU, one of only four players with at least 200 career receptions. He never had a single, standout season, but he was a consistent player over his four years. Every season Matt Bellini played, he had at least 43 receptions and 548 receiving yards.

Arguably his best season came in 1990, his final season at BYU and the Heisman-winning year for quarterback Ty Detmer. Bellini had a career-high 59 receptions that season, helping Detmer make history alongside wide receiver Andy Boyce and tight end Chris Smith.

5) Margin Hooks (1997-00)

Another underrated player in BYU’s history, Hooks rounds out the list with 189 career receptions. The “Sky’s The Limit” wide receiver trainer, Hooks was electric during his time at BYU. Unfortunately, he played in an often forgotten time of BYU’s history in the final years with head coach LaVell Edwards.

Hooks big season came in 1999. He hauled in 60 catches for 1067 yards and 7 touchdowns catching passes from quarterback Kevin Feterik. Hooks is also Top 5 in career receiving yards at BYU.

Listen to the entire segment from Cougar Sports Saturday discussing Gunner Romney and the career leaders in receptions at BYU.

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2022 Will Be The Year Of The Wide Receiver For BYU