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Early Look at BYU’s 2021 Pass Catchers

We take a look at what BYU’s wide receivers and tight ends will look like in 2021. Boca Raton Bowl - BYU v Central Florida Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

BYU loses its top pass catcher from the 2020 season with Dax Milne officially declaring for the NFL Draft. He no doubt leaves a void, but BYU fortunately returns virtually everyone else and adds a few key pieces.

Below is a breakdown of the wide receivers and tight ends that are expected to contribute next season.

Guys Leaving

  • Dax Milne — Dax leaves a void of 70 receptions, 1188 yards and 8 touchdowns.
  • Matt Bushman — Bushman tore his achilles right before the season and will give the NFL a shot rather than returning to BYU for one more year.

The only other guys BYU is losing who caught a pass are Zach Wilson (2 receptions) and Kyle Griffitts (1 reception).

Top Returnees

  • Gunner Romney — Gunner missed two games due to injury and was banged up in other games, but he was BYU’s best deep threat and second best wide receiver. He finished with 39 receptions, 767 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns on the year. Jacob Conover was his high school QB and Baylor is his brother, so Gunner will have great chemistry if one of those guys is the starting QB.
  • Neil Pau’u — After missing the 2019 season, Pau’u had a solid junior season and was second on the team in receptions and third in yards and receiving touchdowns. He finished with 45 receptions, 603 yards and 4 touchdowns.
  • Isaac Rex — Rex filled in for Matt Bushman and had one of the most productive seasons for any tight end in the country. The redshirt freshman had 37 receptions, 429 yards and an eye-popping 12 touchdowns. He will be a focal point of BYU’s 2021 offense and looks like a future NFL tight end.

Breakout Candidates

  • Kody Epps — A high school All American, Epps’ 2020 season was slowed down by injury. He got banged in fall camp and had a few other injuries during the season that kept him from really taking off. He finished the year for 5 receptions for 47 yards. Epps isn’t a burner, but he has potential to turn into BYU’s best route runner and could take a big leap in 2021.
  • Chris Jackson — Jackson took a lot of heat for his negative play in the Coastal Carolina game, but the JUCO transfer may be BYU’s fastest player. He didn’t get much playing time in his first year at BYU as a junior, but Jackson fills a void with his speed.
  • Miles Davis — Davis played running back this year, but he played a lot of wide receiver in high school and could potentially switch over next season. Davis played mostly in blowouts, but he showed great burst and playmaking potential. He only had 15 carries, but he finished with 96 rushing yards and 1 TD to go along with 4 receptions for 43 yards. Regardless if he is a running back or wide receiver, BYU needs to find more ways to get Davis on the field.
  • Keanu Hill — Hill has been hampered by some injuries his first two seasons. He has good size at 6-foot-4 and will look to break into the regular rotation as a junior.

Newcomers to Watch

  • Chase Roberts — A member of the 2019 recruiting class, the American Fork product will be back from his Church mission. According to 247 Sports’ ratings, Roberts was the 3rd ranked 2019 prospect in the state of Utah behind 4-star recruits Puka Nacua and Siaki Ika. There are a lot of bodies Roberts will have to fight with, but he has the talent to make an immediate impact as a true freshman.
  • Dallin Holker — Holker will be back from his mission after playing for BYU in 2018. Holker was a top recruit and flashed his potential as a true freshman. Playing as the #2 tight end behind Matt Bushman, he finished the season with 19 receptions for 235 and 1 touchdown. He will team with Isaac Rex to form a potentially elite 1-2 punch at tight end.
  • Transfer portal — With Milne gone, BYU could turn to the transfer portal to add an immediate impact player at wide receiver.

Others to Watch

  • Brayden Cosper — Cosper has been snake bit with injuries, but he could factor into the rotation in 2021. He saw more playing time towards the end of the season, finishing with 4 receptions for 36 yards.
  • Carter Wheat — Wheat had a magnificent touchdown catch versus Louisiana Tech, but he is likely behind Rex and Holker in the tight end pecking order.
  • Hank Tuipulotu — Another guy that has had injury issues, Tuipulotu finally saw the field this year and had a 20-yard reception. He was pacing ahead of Isaac Rex in fall camp 2019 for TE #2 before an ACL injury ended his year.
  • Bentley Hanshaw — A 6-foot-6 tight end, Hanshaw has the size and skill to contribute but is in a long jam at the tight end position.
  • Terrence Fall — Fall was a member of the 2020 recruiting class from France. He redshirted this past year, but has solid size at 6-foot-3 to eventually make an impact at wide receiver.