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BYU Football 2017 Wide Receivers Preview: Jonah Trinnaman leads inexperienced group

The Wide Receivers are one of the biggest question marks heading into the 2017 season

BYU v Cincinnati Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Just as we highlighted in our running backs’ preview yesterday, the wide receiver corps has many question marks heading into the 2017 season. BYU loses its top three receivers from last year (Nick Kurtz, Colby Pearson, Mitchell Juergens) on a group that already had its fair share of struggles.

For BYU’s offense to take a step forward this season, the Cougars will be relying on a few returnees and other promising new faces to beef up the passing attack.

Jonah Trinnaman

A 4-star recruit out of Snow College, the senior wide receiver had an up-and-down season during his first year with the Cougars. After hauling in 6 passes in BYU’s opener versus Arizona, Trinnaman failed to exceed that total for the remainder of the season, and finished with 28 receptions for 321 yards and 1 touchdown.

Trinnaman’s lone touchdown came on a 75-yard catch in the Toledo game, which gave a glimpse into what many expected Trinnaman to bring to BYU: a downfield receiving threat. BYU didn’t target Trinnaman much down the field, but that may change this season with Tanner Mangum behind center and a more experienced offensive line.

Trinnaman told BYU Sports Nation last month that he runs a 4.32 40-yard dash, and will now be playing with a QB who is more adept at getting the ball downfield (that’s not a shot a Taysom; both QB’s have different skill sets.) Here’s a glimpse at Tanner’s arm strength, in case you forgot:

Now that Jonah is the clear-cut number one receiver, has a full offseason at BYU under his belt, and a QB more adept to his skill sets, he could be poised for a big year in his final year in a Cougar uniform. With an inexperienced receiving corps, BYU will need Trinnaman to step up and carry more of the receiving load.

Talon Shumway

After appearing in 7 games last season, the 6’3”, 205 lbs sophomore will be counted on to take a big step. BYU listed the sophomore as the starting receiver opposite Trinnaman during media day, but Shumway will be fighting off a lot of competition during fall camp and the regular season.

The Lone Peak product has battled injuries through high school and during the early part of his BYU career, but he appears to be 100% with just over a month until the season starts. When healthy, Shumway has proven to be a dangerous weapon during BYU practices.

With his size and athleticism (he had a 41” vertical jump and high school), Shumway could be one of the breakout players this year at a position desperate for playmakers.

Micah Simon

The redshirt sophomore from Texas has been named by multiple players and coaches on the staff as one of the players to watch on the team. A high school quarterback, Simon is one of the fastest players on the team.

According to Jonah Trinnaman, Simon runs a 4.38 40-yard dash (probably inflated, but still). Simon is inexperienced, but he had a redshirt year in 2016 to learn the playbook and the nuances of the wide receiver position.

Combined with Trinnaman’s wheels, BYU’s wide receivers could see speed that has rarely been seen from that position in Provo.

Akile Davis

Another guy that redshirted in 2016, the sophomore receiver moved back to receiver full time after experimenting a bit at cornerback.

The 6’2”, 200 lbs Texas product did appear in 3 games in as a freshman in 2015, logging 1 catch for 9 yards. Davis was listed as the backup to Trinnaman on the media day depth chart.

While not possessing the wheels of the previous 3 wide receivers, Davis may be the most physical of the bunch. He has a big, solid frame that could be a change from the other receivers on the list. As someone that’s been around the program for a few years, Davis should finally see meaningful reps this season.

Aleva Hifo

The 5’10”, 187 lbs sophomore appeared in all 13 games this past year, and is listed as the starting slot receiver heading into fall camp.

After seeing playing time early in the season at receiver, Hifo got benched after some struggles. For the year, he had 11 catches for 58 yards.

Hifo’s biggest contribution was on special teams, where he had over 400 kick return yards, including a 50 yarder versus West Virginia and a 39-yard return in the bowl game versus Wyoming.

With more time to learn the playbook and extra reps under his belt, Hifo could see the amount of targets he was seeing early in the 2016 season.

Inoke Lotulelei

A member of the 2013 recruiting class, Lotulelei looks like he will finally see the field after spending last season of the scout. The 5’9” receiver will compete for time at slot receiver.

Lotulelei was one of Utah’s best receivers during his high school days, as he tallied over 1,000 yards in both his junior and senior seasons.

Lotulelei’s impact may be minimal with the amount of receivers and tight ends ahead of him in the pecking order, but the promise he showed in high school at least merits keeping an eye on him.

Others to Watch:

  • Beau Tanner: A JUCO transfer from Arizona, the junior receiver saw action in 10 games last season, finishing the season with 1 reception for 5 yards. The 6’ receiver also received offers from Kentucky, Texas Tech, UCLA and USU.
  • Grant Jones: After spending time his first 3 seasons on the defensive side of the ball, the 6’6” senior has switched over to the offensive side of the ball for his final season.
  • Tariq Buchanan: The 6’1”, 175 lbs speedster from Texas is a member of the 2017 recruiting class. A star basketball player and track athlete in the 100-meter dash, Buchanan is someone that could surprise folks and see playing time in a wide open receiving unit.