Position Preview of BYU Football: Tight Ends
BYU has a long history of great tight ends. From Gordon Hudson to Chad Lewis to Dennis Pitta and many others, there have been many productive bottlenecks in Provo. Who will stand out this year?
In 2020, no other tight end in the country caught more touchdowns than Rex. He tied fourth overall pick Kyle Pitts for most touchdown receptions with a tight end in 2021 and capitalized on quarterback Zach Wilson’s breakout season. At the end of the season, he was named a Freshman All-American. However, last year was different. Rex was under-represented on offense with Jaren Hall under center for some reason, piling up just 191 yards on 18 catches all season. At the end of the regular season against USC, he fractured his ankle and missed the bowl game. Now he’s hoping to start 2022 fully healthy and a bigger part of BYU’s plans on offense like he did in 2020. If he recovers, he could win NFL draft buzz.
In the era of missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who are qualified to serve at 18, it is now rare for a player to make a major contribution in their first season before beginning their two-year term of service. Holker is a rare breed who played in 13 games in 2018 before completing a mission and amassing 235 receiving yards. Last year, he got his feet wet after the mission, playing in all 13 games and piling up 200 yards. He and Rex are likely to be a big part of the passing game for Jaren Hall and company in 2022. This could turn out to be a dangerous two-headed monster for Aaron Roderick to use.
Erickson entered the program prior to last season and served on the scout team last year. Prior to BYU, he was a 2018 Polynesian Bowl All Star. The product from Laie, Hawaii will be competing for a bigger role this year.
Lunt has been part of the team since 2020 and has played in 20 games over the course of his BYU career, mostly on special teams. Before his mission, he played for Eastern Arizona College. Given the depth at the tight end, he’ll need to shine during camp to play a bigger role as special teams this year.
The Cougars coaching staff flipped Utah’s Olsen as part of the 2022 class. He is slated to start his career as a preferred walk-on but is expected to receive a scholarship next season.
Wheat has caught at least one pass in each of the last three seasons. He caught four passes for 74 yards and a touchdown in 2020. He attracted interest from Arizona and State of Arizona before you decide to go to BYU. If BYU suffers injuries at the tight end spot, look to Wheat for a bigger role as someone with experience in the system.