PROVO — Just about every prolific BYU offense includes a prolific tight end. The Cougars ended last season without an established tight end and subsequently have a bevy of options battling for the spot this fall. Here's a list of the top five tight ends in the program who are vying for playing time this season:
Holt signed with BYU as a highly-recruited prospect with offers from Oregon, Florida and Stanford, among others. He established himself as the top tight end during last fall's practices, but suffered a knee injury late last season that he's struggled to battle back from. Holt is considered the top blocking option among the pool of tight ends and should see plenty of time this season during running situations.
Mathews signed with BYU as a four-star prospect according to scout.com and has since established himself as the top-receiving tight end in the program. He led the tight ends in receptions last year with 27 — more than twice the amount of any other tight end. Mathews has put on a lot of good weight in the offseason as he looks to establish himself as an every-down player.
Wilson had offers from LSU, Miami and Stanford, among others out of high school. Since joining BYU's program he's been beset with injuries and as a result has never been able to fully establish himself while at BYU. Wilson is arguably the fastest and most agile tight end option on the roster, but has struggled with his consistency in catching the football. If he proves reliable, he'll present an uncommonly athletic option at the position.
Friel was lightly-recruited out of high school, but blew BYU coaches away with his overall athleticism while attending one of the Cougars' summer camps. Friel has logged some game time and filled in nicely down the stretch last season. He may present the best size and speed combination of all the tight ends, but has his work cut out for him to establish himself above the other options.
Mahina has suffered an unfortunate string of injuries since his promising freshman campaign. He received offers from Oregon, Colorado and UCLA. Whatever strides Mahina made in the offseason were cut short due to breaking his hand earlier this month. It will be difficult for him to establish himself as a top option as a result.