Breaking Down BYU Football’s Tight End Position Entering Fall Camp
PROVO, Utah – The BYU football fall camp preview takes us to the tight end spot.
BYU has always had a rich history of pulling in talented tight ends. The 2022 unit features a pair of tight ends at the top that only enrich the line of tight ends BYU has produced over the years.
The question for this group is, what role do they have in the passing attack this year? There was a significant dip in targets and receiving yards to the tight ends from the 2020 offense. So what’s in store this season?
We will begin to get those answers when Camp Kalani opens up this week down in Provo.
Here’s a breakdown of the personnel and other storylines for BYU’s 2022 tight end position.
Tight end personnel for BYU football in 2022
Returning Starter: Isaac Rex (RS-Soph.)
Departed from last season: Bentley Hanshaw (Liberty)
Returning players with starting experience: Dallin Holker (Jr.), Masen Wake (Jr.)
Returning: Lane Lunt (Sr.), Carter Wheat (RS-Soph.), Ethan Erickson (RS-Fr.)
Newcomers that participated in spring: Samisoni Peaua (Fr.)
Summer arrivals: Anthony Olsen (Fr.)
Outlook entering Camp Kalani
Rex, a fourth-year sophomore, has garnered some buzz for the NFL draft from evaluators such as Mel Kiper of ESPN. The 6-foot-6, 247-pound tight end is coming back from a leg injury he suffered in the regular season finale against USC.
MACHINE ⚙️ pic.twitter.com/bDWsegtBmh
— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) April 13, 2022
The health status of Rex will be a big story entering fall camp. All of the reports have been positive on his road to recovery. During Media Day, it was stated that Rex was ahead of schedule.
Rex wasn’t able to go through spring ball, so fall camp will be his first time in a full practice since last November.
The good thing for BYU is that they have another player capable of being TE1 if Rex’s road to 100% health takes longer than expected. That would be Dallin Holker, a junior from Lehi.
Holker took all of the TE1 reps during spring ball and shined, showcasing his versatility as a threat in the passing attack. Last season was Holker’s first year back after serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Washington.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) July 22, 2022
BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick noted this off-season that the coaches probably threw too much at Holker after coming back from the mission. However, during his first year with the BYU program in 2018, Holker was an opening week co-starter with former star Matt Bushman, highlighting Holker’s ability.
2022 BYU football fall camp position previews
If Rex is back to full strength, BYU boasts one of the best one-two punches at tight end out west.
After a breakout year in 2020 that saw him rack up 12 touchdown grabs and 429 receiving yards, Rex’s numbers dipped in 2021. He finished last season with 18 catches for 191 yards and three touchdowns.
Rex remains one of the top red zone targets in BYU’s offense entering the 2021 season.
Masen Wake gathers in the tight end room but is a fullback in BYU’s offense. Wake’s role could expand to include more traditional tight end snaps this season.
Wake missed all of the spring practices to get healthy for fall. When healthy, he’s a unique weapon within Aaron Roderick’s offense.
Competition to watch
Who emerges as TE3?
With Rex and Holker comfortably atop the depth chart, the battle to watch in camp will be at the third spot.
The early favorite is redshirt freshman Ethan Erickson from Kahuku, Hawaii. Last season was Erickson’s first year back after serving a Latter-day Saint mission. During spring practices are when Erickson started to have some breakthroughs.
— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) March 22, 2022
With Rex out due to injury, Erickson saw a lot of time as TE2 in spring practices. When asked which underclassmen were standing out in spring ball, BYU QB Jaren Hall told KSL Sports brought up Erickson. During many media observation portions in spring, Erickson was a popular target for Hall.
At 6-foot-5, 225-pounds, Erickson was a dual-sport star at Kahuku High, excelling at basketball.
Former JUCO transfer Lane Lunt enters his third season at BYU. He’s appeared in 20 games during his first two seasons but has yet to haul in a catch.
Carter Wheat is a fourth-year player in the program. After appearing in 10 games in 2020, Wheat played in five games in 2021.
Outside the box storyline for BYU football tight ends
How often will BYU line up in 12 personnel this season?
Lining up in 12 personnel (1 running back, two tight ends) was a big thing for former offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes. Does BYU turn to that often with Rex and Holker?
The wide receivers are as talented as they’ve been since Kalani Sitake arrived as the head coach, but the one-two pairing of Rex and Holker could create some unique mismatches for opponents.
Newcomer to follow
During fall camp, we will get our first glance at true freshman Anthony Olsen. Olsen prepped at Olympus High in Salt Lake City. Before committing to BYU in February, he was a preferred walk-on commit at the University of Utah, a program viewed as a “dream school” for Olsen.
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Olsen is 6-foot-4, 220-pounds, and primarily played basketball during his high school career. He’s only played football for one year, but he’s a good athlete.
Projected Depth Chart entering Fall Camp
Isaac Rex (6-6, 247) -OR- Dallin Holker (6-5, 235)
*Masen Wake (6-1, 250 – Also an option at fullback)
Ethan Erickson (6-5, 225) -OR- Lane Lunt (6-4, 235) -OR- Carter Wheat (6-4, 236)
Anthony Olsen (6-4, 220) -OR- Samisoni Peaua (6-3, 225)
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.
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