Does BYU Football have the nation’s best tight end in Matt Bushman?
It is not often that an independent football program like BYU boasts one of the top offensive threats in the nation, but with senior tight end Matt Bushman getting national media and NFL attention, the Cougars appear to have a star on the 2020 squad.
Last month, Lindy’s Sports College Football National 2020 Preview Rankings listed Bushman as the No. 5 tight end in college football, but teammate Isaac Rex says Bushman might be even higher.
“Matt is the No. 1. He has proven himself,” Rex told Cougar Sports Saturday. “He’s the man. He’s the best tight end in college football.”
At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, Bushman is a natural athlete who originally committed to BYU as a dual-sport athlete in baseball and football. He played outfielder in baseball and has great hands that make him the ideal receiving tight end, something that is hard to find at any level of the sport.
Bushman was one of the few bright spots on the 2017 BYU Football team that went 4-9, and was even named a Freshman All-American, impressing fans and pundits alike after he hung up his baseball hat and committed to football full-time.
Last season, Bushman became the first tight end in BYU football history to lead the team in receiving yards in three consecutive seasons. He also led the team in total catches in each of the past three seasons and is poised to be the primary receiving option in 2020 as well.
BYU tight ends coach Steve Clark was on BYU Sports Nation on July 1 and talked about the plans for Bushman in the upcoming season.
“(Bushman) is not going to come off the field this season unless it’s his decision,” Clark told BYUSN. “I hope he’s in good shape.”
It is not often that BYU Football depends on one player as much as Clark suggests the team will this season, but it is also not often the Cougars have a star as productive and promising as Bushman.
The last player to be featured as much as Bushman on the offensive end was probably all-time leading rusher Jamaal Williams, who now plays for the Green Bay Packers. Bushman also has professional aspirations and has drawn plenty of attention from scouts and the media. He had the option to leave BYU after his junior season and enter the NFL Draft but decided to return for his senior season.
Pro Football Network currently projects Bushman to be taken in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, which would make him the highest BYU Football draft pick since linebacker Kyle Van Noy in 2014, and the highest pick on offense since quarterback John Beck in 2007.
Athletic tight ends with the ability to be a primary receiving option are hard to come by in the NFL, making Bushman’s potential at the next level enticing for many scouts and teams.
The Pro Football Network mock draft has three tight ends going before Bushman in the first and second rounds, which would fall in line with the Lindy’s Sports rankings. But even if Bushman isn’t the best tight end in college football, when was the last time the Cougars had a top-five player in the nation at any given position? You would probably have to look back at one of those high draft picks mentioned above to answer that.
BYU Football asked fans in a tweet to share their predictions for Bushman in 2020, and if the past three years and the praise of teammates, coaches and scouts are any indications, Bushman will be the one to watch on the field this fall.