As the Brigham Young Cougars prepare for the 2012 season, they return their top three receivers from 2011. Cody Hoffman, Ross Apo, and JD Falslev ranked one, two, and three in receptions, yards, and touchdowns for the Cougars last year. At 5’8” and 184 pounds, Falslev is the exception in the group. For several decades, however, Falslev was the prototypical BYU receiver.
One of the marvels of the BYU passing game has long been the fact that the BYU receivers lacked speed and size, yet somehow found a way to get open. Great route running and mismatches with tight ends and running backs have been the hallmarks of the BYU passing game.
Six wide receivers are in the BYU top 10 for career receiving yards. None are taller than 6-foot-1 inch, and none top 200 pounds. The current receivers coach is former BYU wide receiver Ben Cahoon. He stands a mighty 5-foot-9 inches tall and played at 180 pounds soaking wet.
Times are changing.
The current 2012 roster for spring practices has five wide receivers who are 6-foot-3 or taller. They all weigh over 200 pounds. Besides the aforementioned Hoffman and Apo, who are 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-3, respectively, Brett Thompson (6-foot-3), Terenn Houk (6-foot-4), and Jordan Smith (6-foot-4) are competing for second on the depth chart. In the fall, 6-foot-6 Mitch Mathews will have returned from his mission and be in the mix as well.
This trend doesn’t look to end after this wave of players. Recently signed wide receiver Josh Weeks is 6-foot-4. For 2013, BYU has offered Talon Shumway a scholarship. He is a 6-foot-3 wide receiver from Lone Peak High School in Utah.
The benefits of having bigger bodies were evident in 2011. Hoffman continually made catches that shorter receivers wouldn’t have. Apo used his size to force his way into the end zone multiple times.
Moving on to 2012 and beyond, this new brand of BYU wide receiver brings a new dimension to the offense. It may just lead to the passing attack being as potent as ever. If properly used in combination with the hallmarks of precise route running and exploiting other mismatches, then the passing game should be unstoppable. Whatever the weakness of an opponent is, BYU should be ready to exploit it.
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