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BYU football: TE Marcus Mathews packs on the pounds with a purpose

Published April 18, 2012 1:39 pm

College football • Peanut butter sandwiches, among other foods, helping tight end bulk up.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Provo • Pass-catching specialist Marcus Mathews is marrying the daughter of a former BYU quarterback, so BYU's flex tight end is naturally eating all he can this month. He wants to look good in that tuxedo on April 21 in Salt Lake City, after all.

Well, not exactly.

Mathews will wed Hayden Bybee of Orem next month, but the reason he has added 25 pounds since the season ended to get to 230 for spring camp ­— and hopes to add at least 10 more before fall camp starts in August — has nothing to do with that event. Bybee's father, Royce, primarily backed up Marc Wilson from 1978-80.

Mathews, a junior from Beaverton, Ore., was recruited as a receiver before his LDS Church mission to Sweden. Now he wants to look like, and be able to block like, a tight end to make himself more versatile to the Cougar offense in 2012.

"I want to be able to play inside [traditional tight end], but also stay outside at flex tight end, if needed there," he said. "I want to eliminate the need for me to come out of games so much. If I can block, I can be a really big threat, a big weapon for our team."

Mathews caught 27 passes for 299 yards and a touchdown — the tipped pass that beat Utah State — last season to lead all BYU tight ends in a season in which Devin Mahina (neck), Austin Holt (knee) and Richard Wilson (knee) suffered season-ending injuries and left coaches with fewer options at the position than anyone could have imagined.

Mathews has tried to gain weight before, but really started taking it seriously since catching two passes for 34 yards in the Cougars' 24-21 win over Tulsa in December's Armed Forces Bowl.

"My diet has me eating about every hour, or about every 90 minutes, all day," he said.

He has been known to take up to six sack lunches — peanut butter and honey sandwiches, mostly — to school every day. He also eats a lot of quinoa, a South American seed high in protein, chicken, and fruits and vegetables. Every morning starts with a big helping of oatmeal for breakfast, and he downs several protein shakes during the day, and takes creatine supplements before workouts and before going to bed.

"It takes a really big, conscious effort to gain weight, like eating every hour, which sucks," he said, joking that his jaw muscle is getting the best workout. "I can still put on weight, but still look limber and athletic. … I am a little bit bulkier, but have a little more muscle. I still feel just as fast, just as agile. I can still do the same things I did before, but now I can do more inside [blocking] stuff, too."

Mathews' younger brother, Mitch, is a 6-foot-6, 215-pound sophomore receiver at BYU who recently returned from his mission to Orlando, Fla., and is also trying to add a few pounds.

Briefly

The Cougars didn't practice Tuesday, but will have their second-to-last practice of 2012 spring camp Wednesday before concluding camp Friday. … The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Tuesday that Georgia Tech wants to back out of the final two games (in Atlanta in 2014 and in Provo in 2017) of its four-game series with BYU because the ACC is moving to a nine-game football schedule in 2013 and beyond.

drew@sltrib.com

Twitter: @drewjay