BYU tight end Matt Bushman was just a fourth grader when Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area in 2005, but that event had an impact on Bushman’s life that is still felt today.

With school delayed for at least six months and a home that had sustained some damage in the hurricane, the family decided to move to Tucson, Ariz., where Matt’s grandparents lived and start over.

“I saw the way my parents bounced back from that and start over,” he said. “No one wants to move in with your parents with four kids, but it shows the humility they had and the work ethic to start from scratch again. I respected what my parents did and have tried to have that ethic.”

That ethic has served Bushman well as he enters the 2019 football season with a lot of credentials and expectations.

ABOUT MATT BUSHMAN
Personal • Tight end, Junior, 6-foot-5, 245 pounds.
Hometown • Tucson, Az
Of note • Has 78 receptions for 1,031 yards and five touchdown. Freshman All-American in 2017. Also played baseball at BYU in 2017. Married to Emily Lewis, a former player on the women’s volleyball team and daughter of Chad Lewis, a former BYU All-American tight end.

Bushman was a freshman All-American in 2017 when he had 49 receptions for 520 yards and three touchdowns. His production dipped some last year with the junior finishing with 29 catches for 511 yards and two touchdowns, but all indications are Bushman could be in for a big season.

He has had a strong camp and has tormented the Cougars defense, said linebacker Zayne Anderson.

“You can have perfect coverage on him and then Zach Wilson will throw a perfect ball and there is Bushman, it’s like what else do I need to do,” Anderson said. “But a perfect throw can beat perfect coverage sometimes.”

Bushman’s production was down at the start of the 2018 with Moroni Laulu-Pututau getting his share of catches, but he played in only five games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Tight end Matt Bushman is interviewed during BYU football media day at the BYU Broadcasting Building in Provo on Tuesday, June 18, 2019.
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He and fellow tight end Hank Tuipulotu are both still recovering from injury, leaving Bushman as the most logical and experienced go-to target for Wilson.

But Bushman doesn’t want success simply because he is the healthiest man on the depth chart. He has been working hard to be on top of his game when the season starts.

“I want to be the security blanket for the quarterback,” he said. “I want to be the trusted guy who can catch the ball any time.”

Bushman had his best game of the year against the Utes catching six passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Facing the Utes in the season opener will be a great opportunity, Bushman said.

“You want to treat every game like it is the most important one, but rivalry games are intense,” he said. “We know there is a lot at stake and we are tired of losing these games. We want to go out and win and make a statement this year. It’s tough to lose a game when you are leading and let it go at the end of the fourth quarter. So we just want to enjoy this experience and be excited and prepared.”