BYU has a long history of great tight ends. From Gordon Hudson to Chad Lewis to Dennis Pitta and many others, there have been plenty of productive tight ends to come through Provo. Who will stand out this year?
In 2020, no other tight end in the country caught more touchdowns than Rex. He tied 2021 No. 4 overall pick Kyle Pitts for the most touchdown receptions by a tight end, benefitting from quarterback Zach Wilson’s breakout season. At the end of the season, he was named a Freshman All-American. Last year, however, things were not the same. Rex was not as featured in the offense with Jaren Hall under center, for whatever reason, accumulating just 191 yards on 18 catches all season. He suffered a broken ankle against USC to close out the regular season and missed the bowl game. Now, he hopes to enter 2022 fully healthy and a bigger part of BYU’s plans on offense, like he was in 2020. If he bounces back, he could garner NFL Draft buzz.
In the era of missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being eligible to serve at 18 years old, it’s rare now for a player to be a main contributor in his freshman season before setting off on his two years of service. Holker is a rare breed, having played in 13 games in 2018, before he served a mission, racking up 235 receiving yards. Last year, he got his feet wet post-mission, playing in all 13 games, accumulating 200 yards. He and Rex will likely 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 at tight for Aaron Roderick to deploy.
Erickson entered the program before last season and served on the scout team last year. Before BYU, he was a 2018 Polynesian Bowl All Star. The Laie, Hawaii product will compete for a bigger role this year.
Part of the team since 2020, Lunt has appeared in 20 games over his BYU career, mostly on special teams. Before his mission, he played for Eastern Arizona College. Given the depth at tight end, he will need to shine during camp to have a larger role than special teams this year.
The Cougars’ coaching staff flipped Olsen from Utah as part of the 2022 class. He is set to begin his career as a preferred walk-on but is expected to be on 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 garnered interest from Arizona and Arizona State before committing to BYU. If BYU suffers injuries to the tight end spot, look for Wheat to take on a bigger role as someone with experience in the system.