Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) BYU's tight end, Devin Mahina, No. 84, works out with the rest of the team during the first practice of the season.
BYU football: Cougar tight ends vow to be a factor this season

They blocked well in 2013; now they want to catch more.

First Published Aug 06 2014 04:06 pm • Last Updated Aug 06 2014 11:34 pm

Provo • Towering senior Devin Mahina has caught 26 passes so far in his career as a BYU tight end, for 310 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Mahina says if he can post similar numbers this season — in 12 or 13 games instead of 31 — he will be able to claim that he has brought the position back to the forefront at BYU.

At a glance

BYU’s tight ends, 2014

Player Ht/Wt Year

Devin Mahina 6-6/245 Senior

26 catches, 310 yards, 2 TDs

Terenn Houk 6-5/225 Junior

2 catches, 8 yards, 0 TDs

Bryan Sampson 6-4/215 Junior

Appeared in 1 game, no catches

Matt Sumsion 6-8/250 Freshman

Colby Jorgensen 6-7/230 Freshman

Career stats (Sumsion, Jorgensen have no stats)

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Because last year, it was missing.

"The days of the tight end being a big part of the BYU offense aren’t gone," said the 6-foot-6, 245-pound product of Ontario, Calif. "I really think this year will be different than last year."

Mahina, who trimmed down a bit in the offseason (from 257 to 245, roughly) after catching just seven passes for 64 yards last year, is listed as the starting tight end on BYU’s depth chart, but he doesn’t have much competition — at least among the guys vying to line up next to a tackle in a two-point stance.

The only other true tight ends on the roster are junior Bryan Sampson and freshmen Matt Sumsion and Colby Jorgensen, and they have zero college receptions between them. Junior Terenn Houk, who had two catches last year, is called a tight end, but he is more of a hybrid receiver who will line up in the slot when he’s on the field.

Actually, BYU is calling several of those types of players tight ends on its roster, including UTEP transfer Jordan Leslie and Stanford transfer Keanu Nelson, but they are really inside receivers, coach Bronco Mendenhall said.

"Really, it is not so much using the tight end [as] it is ‘where can our best players be used?’ And so we have kind of different versions of tight ends, as you’ve seen," Mendenhall said. "Devin will be more of a hand-on-the-ground tight end to be used with two backs, and in some one-back settings. But you will also see Jordan Leslie, Keanu Nelson, guys like that, playing an inside receiver spot. They are actually grouped with the tight ends. … The good news is we have two-back sets and one-back sets so I think there will be a role for all of them."

Mahina, who has been slowed by an ankle sprain the first few sessions of camp, disputes the notion that BYU’s tight ends didn’t do much last year, saying that he and Kaneakua Friel (11 catches, 128 yards, 1 TD) became valuable blockers for quarterback Taysom Hill and running back Jamaal Williams.

"I think if people pay attention to the blocking, they will be pleased," Mahina said. "We had one of the best rushing offenses in the game last year. People forget that there was always a tight end in there blocking. … Still, I think with 25 receptions and a couple touchdowns this coming season, respect will come back to BYU tight ends, in most people’s eyes."


story continues below
story continues below

Mahina, who served an LDS Church mission to Antananarivo, Madagascar, before enrolling at BYU, said he hopes to be on the field for about 65 percent of the offensive plays this season, "after hearing coach [Robert] Anae say the tight end is the most productive formation in the offense."

Asked about his plan for the tight end position in the second season of his second stint at BYU’s offensive coordinator, Anae said, "To keep it healthy, and when it is healthy, use it."

Anae said tight ends were on the field a lot last year, but didn’t get open enough.

"Well, the offense works kind of like your elementary school voting booth," Anae said. "People aren’t going to vote for you to be romper room leader unless you earn that. It is the same thing in football. If those tight ends weren’t getting open, they weren’t getting balls. They just weren’t earning that. It is the same principle. You earn it, your teammates respect you, and it becomes more productive visibly. We did not have that happen last year. Can I mandate it as a coach? I have been doing this a long time; I have never been able to mandate success. Never."

That said, Anae believes Mahina has the tools to be a go-to tight end in the tradition of Gordon Hudson, Itula Mili, Chad Lewis and others.

"I sure do, absolutely," he said.

drew@sltrib.com

Twitter@drewjay



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.