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Countdown to Kickoff (95): What can we expect from BYU’s Tight End group?

Matt Bushman is good, but can one or two other guys step up too?

BYU v Utah Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

Tight End has been a position of strength historically for BYU, and Matt Bushman has brought the tight end position back to prominence sine the departure of Dennis Pitta and Andrew George.

For the second year in a row, Matt Bushman led BYU in receptions and receiving yards. Bushman’s receptions dropped dramatically from his freshman to sophomore year — he went from 49 down to 29 — but his yards per catch spiked way up as he went from 10.6 ypc as a freshman to 17.6 ypc as a sophomore.

Despite being BYU’s best pass catcher, Bushman was not targeted nearly enough for the majority of the season. Wilson found ways to get Bushman the ball towards the end of the season, however, and the 13 receptions Bushman recorded in the last three games accounted for 45% of his catches on the year. I think I speak for most BYU fans in hoping that Bushman gets waaay more targets this year and eclipses 60 receptions.

Bushman should be the focal point of the BYU passing attack, but BYU has other weapons at tight end as well. Back is Moroni Laulu-Pututau from an ACL tear suffered during the Washington game. MLP’s 14 receptions led BYU at the time of his injury. MLP isn’t the downfield threat that Bushman is, but his 6-foot-5 frame provides a safety net on underneath throws.

Freshman Dallin Holker was sixth on the team with 19 catches, but he will gone for the next two years as he serves his LDS mission. In his place, look for redshirt freshman Hank Tuipulotu to get some looks as another pass-catching tight end. Tuipulotu was a monster at the high school level in South Carolina, tallying over 100 catches and 1,300 receiving yards in both of his junior and senior years. As a senior, he had 125 catches for 1,725 yards. There will be a lot of guys looking to catch balls from Zach Wilson, but don’t be surprised to see Tuipulotu work his way onto the field.

Addison Pulsipher is back for his senior year to resume his role as the designated blocking tight end. The 6-foot-5, 275 pounds former offensive lineman played in 12 games last season and brings some extra muscle to the front line for when BYU wants to go heavy.

Overall, tight end should be a position of strength for this offense. Matt Bushman is a legit NFL prospect (Mel Kiper has him as one of the top 5 underclassmen tight end prospects), and BYU has other guys who can step in for when Grimes elects to go with multiple tight end sets.