Top 5 Offensive and Defensive Players in Bronco Mendenhall Era

A number of former BYU players and members of the media shared who they think the top 5 players in the Bronco Mendenhall Era are.

Over the last two days it’s been debated on the show about who the top 5 offensive and defensive players have been during the Bronco Mendenhall era.

There have been some great players on both sides of the ball over the last 10 years including the two most decorated receivers in BYU history in Cody Hoffman and Austin Collie, the two leading career rushers in Curtis Brown and Harvey Unga, and even the winningest BYU QB in Max Hall.

On defense, you could look at the number of talented linebackers the program has developed like Cam ‘The General’ Jensen, Kyle Van Noy, and Bryan Kehl, big play making safeties in Andrew Rich and Daniel Sorenson, or defensive linemen Jan Jorgensen and Ziggy Ansah.

We had a number of former players, analysts, and even an intern give their thoughts, so here’s each list.

Ben Criddle: 

Offense: Harvey Unga, Austin Collie, Dennis Pitta, Max Hall, Cody Hoffman

Defense: Kyle Van Noy, Andrew Rich, Jan Jorgensen, Cameron Jensen, Bryan Kehl, David Nixon, Daniel Sorensen

Criddle: “Harvey had like 40 something touchdowns and 1,000 yards receiving. He could take that zone read, cut it back make 3-4 people miss then lower your shoulder and destroy a safety.”

Criddle: “Who won the Oklahoma game for BYU? It was the defense, one guy forced like three fumbles in that game and it was Andrew Rich.”

Criddle: “Andrew Rich had 221 tackles, SIX forced fumbles, he’s not even blitzing!! 8th all-time in interceptions with 10.”

Brian Logan:

Offense: Dennis Pitta

Defense: Kyle Van Noy, Andrew Rich

Logan: “It’s rare to have a defensive player who can win you a game on their own.”

Logan: “You can’t watch Kyle and figure out what scheme the defense is running, he is all over the place.”

Logan: “I went against Dennis all the time in practice and he was so good. Anytime you can go beyond the college level and have success, and in the biggest game on the biggest stage, you’re the real deal. I can only remember one time that he’s ever dropped a pass. I was standing there with Corby and we saw it and we dropped our water bottles and were like what?? We thought we had seen Santa Clause.”

Brandon Gurney:

Offense: Austin Collie, Max Hall, John Beck, Harvey Unga, Dennis Pitta

Gurney: “Austin Collie is number one no doubt, I don’t think that can even be debated with all he accomplished. After looking at my list, I can’t believe I can’t put Cody Hoffman in the top 5.”

Gurney: “Taysom and Jamaal are two guys who could end up bumping these guys out for one of these top 5 spots when all is said and done.”

Jeremiah Jensen:

Offense: Harvey Unga, Max Hall, Austin Collie, Dennis Pitta, Cody Hoffman

Defense: Kyle Van Noy, Bryan Kehl, David Nixon, Cam Jensen, Daniel Sorensen

Jensen: “Look at the era with Bryan Kehl, David Nixon, Cam Jensen, all those linebackers they were churning out at that time, it’s one thing that has stuck out to me during the early Bronco Mendenhall era.”

Jensen: “Jan is right there as the MWC sack leader, but man it’s tough to pick.”

Jensen: “I’d love to put Taysom in, he’s done some incredible things but he needs to do it over an entire career. Unfortunately, he’s been injured over a lot of his career.”

Jordan Pendleton:

Offense: Austin Collie

Defense: Kyle Van Noy

Pendleton: “I know it might seem like I’m showing some bias by picking my BIL as the best offensive player but I was there at the same time as him but honestly it’s a toss up between him and Dennis Pitta. It says a lot for Austin because you can see that Cody broke all his records but Austin did it in only three years.”

Pendleton: “Look at all the plays Kyle made: forced fumbles, interceptions, blocked kicks. He’s a complete player and is definitely the best from the BM era. Other than him, it could be Andrew Rich, that guy made a ton of plays.”

Zak Hicken:

Offense: Harvey Unga, Austin Collie, Dennis Pitta, Max Hall, Taysom Hill

Defense: Kyle Van Noy, Andrew Rich, Daniel Sorenson, Cam Jensen, Jan Jorgensen

What do you think of our picks? Is there anyone you feel should be in the top 5? Leave a comment below and share your top 5 players!

Hicken: “I remember watching Harvey play as a kid, I played running back too and so he was definitely my favorite player. He always made big plays and kept his motor going down field, he was so hard to bring down.”

Hicken: “KVN could do it all, making plays on defense, special teams, he’s one of a few defensive players who can go out and single handedly win his team the game.”


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