Ranking the best wide receivers in BYU history

While BYU is known for its quarterbacks, those signal callers would be far less recognizable without great wide receivers. After all, it doesn’t matter how good the throws are if wideouts aren’t open to make plays and get into the end zone. BYU has an impressive list of wide receivers, including plenty of all-conference selections and some All-American recognition.

Here is my list of the best wide receivers in BYU history

Note: these rankings are based only on what each player did during their time at BYU.

Conference placement and stats from Sports-reference.com. All-conference and All-American information from BYUCougars.com.

H.M. Bill Davis (1977-1980)

Davis was a key contributor on some very good BYU teams. His most productive season came as a junior in 1979 when he caught 21 passes for 379 yards and seven touchdowns. Those numbers were good enough to place 10th in the WAC in receiving yards and tied for first (with Matt Braga) in touchdown receptions.

For his BYU career, he had 54 receptions for 938 yards and 11 touchdowns.

H.M. Brent Nyberg (1989-1990)

Nyberg spent two seasons as a Cougar and did some very nice things. His best season came as a senior in 1990 when he finished top 10 in the WAC in receiving yards and yards per catch. That year, he caught 47 passes for 816 yards and four touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he had 65 receptions for 1,131 yards and five touchdowns.

H.M. John Betham (1972-74)

Betham produced during all three seasons on the field as a Cougar. His best year came in 1974 when he helped lead the team to the WAC championship and a Fiesta Bowl Berth while leading the team in catches (38), receiving yards (569) and receiving touchdowns (six).

For his BYU career, he caught 66 passes for 1,143 yards and 11 touchdowns.

H.M. Bruce Smith (1962-64)

Even though the Cougars relied much more on the running game in those days, Smith put up some solid numbers. He led the Cougars in receiving yards or receptions during each of his three seasons. His best season came in 1964 when he caught 30 passes for 470 yards and three touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he recorded 57 receptions for 778 yards and four touchdowns.

H.M. Neil Balholm (1979-82)

Balholm got on the field for his last two years at BYU and made an impact right away. His most productive season came as a senior in 1982 when he had 39 receptions for 749 yards and a touchdown. His stats were good enough to place in the top five in the WAC in receptions, receiving yards and yards per reception.

For his BYU career, he caught 70 passes for 1,214 yards and four touchdowns.

H.M. Jeff Frandsen (1985-89)

Frandsen took a few seasons to see significant time, but when he got his chance, he took advantage. His best season came as a senior in 1989 when he finished fourth in the WAC in yards per reception and receiving touchdowns. That year, he caught 32 passes for 596 yards and nine touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he recorded 55 receptions for 1,041 yards and 13 touchdowns.

H.M. Tyler Anderson (1988, 1991-93)

While he never caught very many passes in any season, Anderson had a knack for finding the end zone when he caught a pass. In fact, he finished in the top 10 in the WAC in receiving touchdowns two different seasons. His most productive year came as a senior in 1993 when he caught 21 passes for 358 yards and five touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he made 52 receptions for 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns.

H.M. Micah Matsuzaki (1989-93)

When Matsuzaki got the ball in his hands, you could always count on him for a big play. In fact, he finished in the top 10 in the WAC in yards per reception during three of his four years. His best season came as a sophomore in 1990 when he finished fourth in the WAC in yards per reception and seventh in touchdowns. That season, he caught 26 passes for 493 yards and six touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he caught 91 passes for 1,604 yards and 11 touchdowns.

H.M. Bryce Doman (1988, 1991-94)

Doman was a valuable piece to the Cougar offense during each of his five seasons on the field (he scored two touchdowns on four receptions before breaking his collarbone and getting a medical redshirt year in 1991, according to BYUCougars.com). One of his most productive years came as a junior when he caught a career best 36 passes for 455 yards while finishing fourth in the WAC with seven receiving touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he caught 104 passes for 1,557 yards and 14 touchdowns.

H.M. Michael Reed (2005-08)

Even though he was never the go-to-guy, Reed was a fantastic third-option on some very good teams. His most productive season came as a senior when he finished with 49 receptions for 589 yards and two touchdowns. His receptions and yards were good enough to place him in the top 10 in the Mountain West.

For his BYU career, he caught 133 passes for 1,613 yards and 10 touchdowns.

H.M. McKay Jacobson (2006, 2009-2011)

While he never had a breakout season, Jacobson provided steady production during all four years on the field. His best season came as a sophomore in 2009 when he caught 23 passes for 556 yards and four touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he had 113 receptions for 1,836 yards and nine touchdowns.

25. Matt Braga (1979-1980)

Braga was one of many talented wideouts that Marc Wilson and Jim McMahon had to throw the ball to. Even though he didn’t rack up catches or yards, the one thing he did was score touchdowns. In fact, he finished in the top five in the WAC in touchdown receptions during each season. His most productive season came as a junior in 1979 when he caught 21 passes for 369 yards while tying for the conference lead with seven touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he registered 44 receptions for 800 yards and 13 touchdowns.

24. Casey Boyett (1966-68)

Boyett was never the No. 1 receiving threat during his time at BYU, but he still put up some big numbers. His best season came as a sophomore in 1966 when caught 39 passes for 630 yards and a team-leading six receiving touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he recorded 96 receptions for 1,371 yards and eight touchdowns.

23. Jordan Leslie (2014)

Leslie only spent one season at BYU after transferring from UTEP, but made huge contributions in the Cougar passing game. That season, he caught a 55 passes for 779 yards and six touchdowns. He also registered three carries for 34 yards and another score.

22. Jonathan Pittman (1998-2000)

Pittman had two very productive seasons during his time as a Cougar. His best year came as a senior in 2000 when he finished with 38 catches for 691 yards and five touchdowns. Those numbers placed him in the top 10 in the Mountain West in receptions (10th), receiving yards (10th), yards per catch (fourth) and receiving touchdowns (third).

For his BYU career, he caught 67 passes for 1,169 yards and nine touchdowns.

21. Mitch Mathews (2009, 2012-current)

After a solid sophomore season ended with an injury, Mathews bounced back with a huge junior campaign in 2014. That season, he was named to the Phil Steele all-Independent team, according to BYUCougars.com, after catching 73 passes for 922 yards and nine touchdowns.

To this point in his career, he has 98 receptions for 1,346 yards and 13 touchdowns.

20. Golden Richards (1970-71)

Although he played at BYU during a time where the Cougars rarely threw the ball, Richards was on of the best receivers the Cougars had during the 70’s. His best season came in 1970 when he led the Cougars with 36 receptions for 512 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers are very impressive when you consider that BYU threw for only 1,359 yards and the second leading receiver caught 12 passes for 175 yards. A year later, he led the Cougars in catches, receiving yards and yards per reception.

For his BYU career, he caught 50 passes for 799 yards and two touchdowns.

19. Ben Cahoon (1995-97)

Like many other players on this list, Cahoon had to wait before making an impact on the field. His best season came as a senior in 1997 when led the Cougars in receptions (57) and receiving yards (931) while tying for the team lead with four touchdowns. Those numbers were good enough to finish in the top 10 in the catches (seventh), receiving yards (fourth), yards per reception (seventh) and receiving touchdowns (10th).

For his BYU career, he caught 68 passes for 1,097 yards and six touchdowns.

18. K.O. Kealaluhi (1995-96)

. Kealaluhi was one of the most important players on one of the best teams in school history. His most impressive season came as a senior in 1996 when he had 49 catches for 901 yards and eight touchdowns. Those numbers placed him in the top five in the WAC in receiving yards (fifth), yards per reception (fourth) and receiving touchdowns (third).

For his BYU career, he caught 77 passes for 1,384 yards and 10 touchdowns.

17. Kirk Pendleton (1980-83)

Pendleton was one of Steve Young’s favorite targets in 1982 and ’83 even though the Cougars were loaded with offensive talent. Pendleton had his best year as a senior in ’83 when he caught 50 passes for 810 yards while leading the nation with 11 touchdown receptions.

For his BYU career, he had 76 catches for 1,151 yards and 13 touchdowns.

16. Lloyd Jones (1976-1980)

While Jones never caught more than 33 passes in any single season, he was the deep threat that every team needs because of his speed. His most productive season came as a junior when he earned his first of back-to-back all-WAC selections after leading the conference in yards per reception (22.3) while finishing second in receiving yards (735).A year later, he led the conference and finished third in the nation with 22.8 yards per catch.

For his BYU career, he caught 69 passes for 1,544 yards and seven touchdowns.

15. Chuck Cutler (1985-88)

Cutler was one of the favorite targets for Sean Covey and Ty Detmer during the 1988 season. That year, Cutler finished second in the WAC in receptions (64), receiving yards (1,039) and receiving touchdowns (10) to earn first-team all-conference. Those numbers were also good enough to finish top 10 in the nation in receiving touchdowns (seventh) and receiving yards (10th).

For his BYU career, he caught 97 passes for 1,496 yards and 13 touchdowns.

14. Jay Miller (1973-76)

Miller was one of the first great wide receivers at BYU. His best season came as a sophomore in 1973 when he earned first-team all-WAC after he led the nation in receptions (100) and receiving yards (1,181). He also finished fourth in receiving touchdowns (eight).

For his BYU career, he caught 115 passes for 1,326 yards and eight touchdowns.

13. Dan Plater (1978-1981)

While Plater had three productive seasons, his best year came as a senior in 1981. That year, he earned first-team all-WAC after he finished fourth in the conference in receptions (62), third in receiving yard (891) and fifth in receiving touchdowns (five).

For his BYU career, he caught 124 passes for 1,979 yards and 16 touchdowns.

12. John Van Der Wouden (1974-77)

Van Der Wouden had three impressive seasons for the Cougars catching passes from Gifford Nielsen and Marc Wilson. His most productive season came in 1977 when he caught 42 passes for 669 yards and eight touchdowns to go along with a score in the running game. His eight receiving touchdowns were good enough for seventh in the nation.

For his BYU career, he caught 114 passes for 1,951 yards and 18 touchdowns.

11. Mike Chronister (1976-78)

Chronister had three special seasons in Provo. He placed top 10 in the nation in a different category each of his three seasons, including 10th in receptions in 1978, sixth in yards per reception in ’76 (21.9) and fourth in receiving touchdowns in ’77 (11). He was first-team all-WAC and AP All-American honorable mention in each of his last two years. His most productive year came in 1978 when he led the WAC in receptions (52) and receiving yards (850).

For his BYU career, he caught 123 passes for 2,222 yards and 21 touchdowns.

10. Glen Kozlowski (1981, 83-85)

Kozlowski was one of the best receivers in the WAC during his time at BYU. His most productive season came as a junior when he earned first-team all-WAC and honorable mention All-American by the AP, UPI and Football News. That year, he finished second in the conference in catches (55) and receiving yards (879) while leading the conference and finishing second in the nation with 11 touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he caught 136 passes for 2,223 yards and 23 touchdowns.

9. Todd Watkins (2004-05)

Watkins only spent two seasons on the field for BYU, But both were memorable. His most impressive seasons came as a junior when he led the MWC in yards per reception (20.0) and was the regular season leader in receiving yards to earn first-team all-WAC. That year, he caught 52 passes for 1,042 yards and six touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he recorded 101 receptions for 1,720 yards and 15 touchdowns.

8. Mark Bellini (1982-86)

Bellini had three very productive seasons as a Cougar, including two years as a first-team all-WAC performer. His best year came as a junior in 1985 when he was named second-team All-American by UPI and third-team All-American by the AP. That year, he led the nation in touchdown catches (14) and finished sixth in receiving yards (1,008).

For his BYU career, he caught 146 passes for 2,429 and 23 touchdowns.

7. Reno Mahe (1998-99, 2001-02)

Mahe made the switch to wide receiver when he returned to BYU and had an instant impact. His best season came as a junior in 2001 when he earned first-team all-MWC honors after putting together one of the best statistical seasons in BYU history. That year, he led the conference in receptions (91), receiving yards (1,211) and touchdowns (nine). Those numbers were good enough to finish fifth in the nation in receptions and 10th in receiving yards.

During his two seasons as a receiver, he caught 150 passes for 1,982 yards and 11 touchdowns.

6. Andy Boyce (1984, 1987-1990)

Boyce had a tremendous career as a Cougar even though he didn’t record his first catch until his junior year. His most productive season came as a senior in 1990 when he earned first-team all-WAC. That season, he finished second in the nation in receptions (79) as well as third nationally in both receiving yards (1,241) and receiving touchdowns (13).

For his BYU career, he caught 118 passes for 1,953 yards and 15 touchdowns.

5. Margin Hooks (1996-2000)

Hooks had three very productive seasons at BYU. His most impressive campaign came as a junior in 1999 when he earned first team all-MWC after he led the conference in receptions (60) and receiving yards (1,067) and finished second in touchdowns (seven).

For his BYU career, he caught 189 passes for 2,841 yards and 14 touchdowns.

4. Eric Drage (1989-1993)

Drage is one of five BYU receivers to earn first-team all-conference at least twice and the only Cougar to have more than 1,000 yards receiving more than once. His most impressive season came as a junior in 1992 when he was first team all-WAC after catching 56 passes for 1,093 yards and 12 touchdowns. Those numbers placed him second in the nation in receiving touchdowns and ninth in receiving yards.

For his BYU career, he caught 162 passes for 3,065 yards and 29 touchdowns.

3. Cody Hoffman (2009-2013)

Hoffman had a spectacular career as a Cougar. In fact, he owns the BYU school records for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. His best season came as a junior in 2012 when he registered 100 receptions for 1,248 yards and 11 touchdowns to earn all-Independent first-team.

For his BYU career, he caught 260 passes for 3,612 yards and 33 touchdowns.

2. Phil Odle (1965-67)

Although he isn’t close to the top of the BYU leader board for receivers anymore, Odle is still one of the best Cougar receivers ever. He earned first-team all-WAC honors three straight years and finished in the top 10 in the nation twice each in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He also ended his BYU career at second on the all-time list for receptions in college football, according to BYUCougars.com. His most productive season came as a senior in 1967 when he caught 77 passes for 971 yards and nine touchdowns to earn first-team All-American by Dell Sports.

For his BYU career, he caught 183 passes for 2,548 yards and 25 touchdowns.

1. Austin Collie (2004, 07-08)

Even though he only played three seasons as a Cougar before he moved on to the NFL (and now CFL), Collie is the best receiver that BYU has ever had. His best year came as a junior in 2008 when he earned first-team all-MWC and first-team All-American from CBSSports.com after he finished with 106 receptions for 1,538 yards and 15 touchdowns.

For his BYU career, he caught 215 passes for 3,255 yards and 30 touchdowns.

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