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Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Micah Simon celebrates finishing a bear claw drill during football practice at BYU in Provo on Monday, July 31, 2017.
It was tough at first, but then I saw the vision, I trusted the coaches, I accepted coach (Kalani) Sitake, (Ty) Detmer and (Ben) Cahoon and what they believed was good for me, what they saw in me. It’s paid off. —Micah Simon

PROVO — Micah Simon’s style is refreshing.

Simon is one of those unknown, unsung, yet-to-be identified BYU receivers that head coach Kalani Sitake said people will know very soon, a stranger no more.

The Cougars recruited the Dallas native as an athlete. They experimented with him as a defensive back but his future is at receiver. He was in the mix a year ago before a decision was made to redshirt him while seniors Mitch Juergens, Colby Pearson and Nick Kurtz got their time.

These days, being a patient college player is not the norm. If it isn’t your time, it's popular to just transfer to greener pastures.

Simon, at least on the surface, plays the humility card. He’s waited his turn. And teammates and coaches believe it will be quite the turn. He’s got good size (6 foot 1). He’s one of the fastest players on the team. He has great hands. Simon can get off the line, get open and pinpoints a ball in the air like a veteran. In short, he’s an athlete BYU’s offense can surely use.

His attitude is a plus.

In August, that’s money in the bank.

Sitting on the sidelines waiting for better days ahead isn’t easy.

“It’s been tough,” said Simon. “I can’t lie and say it has been an easy route, it has been hard expecting to play just a little bit last season and then get the news that they wanted me to redshirt, sit out and get stronger and faster and better. It was tough at first, but then I saw the vision, I trusted the coaches, I accepted coach (Kalani) Sitake, (Ty) Detmer and (Ben) Cahoon and what they believed was good for me, what they saw in me. It’s paid off.”

Simon says he feels faster and stronger, and adds that the extra conditioning led by the strength coaches has made a difference not only in him but other members of the team. “Even guys who needed to lose weight have seen results.”

Unknown?

Yes. Few observers know much about Simon or the other Cougar receivers. There are few, if any, game clips. There's little evidence of tendencies, strengths or weaknesses. They are question marks.

And they like it that way.

“We have a lot of guys who didn’t play last year but we did our time, we got better, got faster, got stronger, learned the offense and we are ready to go.

“The people who redshirted and guys who didn’t play as much know that this is our time, our turn," Simon said. "We worked out together and pushed each other as a unit and as a team.

“Having a year to just be able to work on yourself and not worry about game preparation but just running routes and getting stronger and faster; it then transitioned over to spring practice where all of us knew we had to step up.”

Simon said Cougar receivers spent plenty of time this summer building chemistry with junior quarterback Tanner Mangum.

“I love Tanner. Yes, he’s finding me out there. He’s a great quarterback and leader and very hard worker," Simon said. "He’d text me whenever he needed to put the work in. He’d send me videos of things he saw on film so when we got out there we could work on it. He’s what you want in a quarterback and leader because we have to depend on him and he has to depend on us.”

Mangum, Simon and others gathered to throw at least four times a week, Monday through Friday, during the dog days of summer.

“Some days we just ran routes. We just caught a lot of balls and that’s what you have to do to have it come naturally.”

Simon joins a host of others who will make their first splash in Cougar uniforms. While many know of speedster Jonah Trinnaman and have seen a little of Aleva Hifo, they really haven’t witnessed the work of Akile Davis, Tariq Buchanan, Chayce Bolli, Neil Pau’u, Inoke Lotulelei, Talon and Rickey Shumway, Beau Tanner, Grant Jones and Taggart Krueger.

Most can beat defenders deep.

All of 'em love Mangum’s gunslinger style.

“We’ll be a good offense and as a group, we’ll be good receivers,” predicted Simon.

Now, if this group can just get Mangum to target them more than the tight ends ...