BYU

Which BYU Four Player Combo Was The Most Prolific Of Their Era?

BYU Football has long been defined by its large number of successful teams, led by Heisman winners and NFL Hall of Famers along with a talented supporting cast that features Doak Walker Award Winners and BYU record holders. These teams have led the Cougars to bowl victories, national rankings, and even a National Championship. ESPN 960 Sports has created 12 BYU player combos, consisting of a quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end from each era of BYU Football. But the question remains, which of these BYU player combos was the most prolific of their era?

The Case For Each

2013-2016: Taysom Hill / Jamaal Williams / Cody Hoffman / Devin Mahina

Led by current NFL QB Taysom Hill and BYU rushing record holder Jamaal Williams, this Cougar foursome helped BYU to an 8-5 record in 2013 that included a win over then 15th ranked Texas and Hill went on to be a Heisman candidate before injuries cut his seasons short. This foursome includes two BYU record-holders, Jamaal Williams (rushing yards) and Cody Hoffman (receiving yards and TD’s), while all four went on to spend time in the NFL.

2007-2009: Max Hall / Harvey Unga / Austin Collie / Dennis Pitta

One of the winningest foursomes in BYU Football history. These four Cougars led BYU to double-digit wins each season from 2007-2009 before all four spent time in the NFL. These four knew how to put up points, with Harvey Unga coming in second for the BYU record for rushing touchdowns and Austin Collie grabbing 30 touchdowns in just three seasons for the Cougars. This foursome includes a Super Bowl Champion in Dennis Pitta, an NFL standout in Austin Collie and BYU’s newest Running Backs’ Coach.

2003-2006: John Beck / Curtis Brown / Todd Watkins / Jonny Harline

John Beck and Co. ran through the Mountain West in 2006 en route to a 16th ranking in the country. John Beck passed for over 11,000 yards during his time at BYU, while Curtis Brown held BYU’s rushing record before it was broken by Harvey Unga. Todd Watkins was one of the best deep threat receivers to come through BYU before moving on the NFL and Jonny Harline was crucial to the success of the 2006 team.

2000-2001: Brandon Doman / Luke Staley / Reno Mahe / Doug Jolley

One of the top teams in the country in 2001 finishing with a 12-2 record and a national ranking as high as 8th, this BYU team was led by Brandon Doman, who threw for over 3,500 yards and ran for another 500. Luke Staley rushed for nearly 1,600 yards and took home the Doak Walker Award, given to the country’s top running back. Reno Mahe caught 91 passes for over 1,200 yards, while tight end Doug Jolley grabbed 7 touchdowns. All four players would go on to spend time at the NFL level.

1995-1996: Steve Sarkisian / Ronney Jenkins / K.O. Kealaluhi / Chad Lewis

You could make the argument that the 1996 BYU Football team was one of the best teams in BYU history. Led by Steve Sarkisian, the Cougars finished with a 14-1 record and took home a Cotton Bowl victory over Kansas State. Ronney Jenkins ran for 11 touchdowns before going on to the NFL while K.O. Kealaluhi caught 49 balls and 8 touchdowns for the Cougars. And of course, there is tight end Chad Lewis who went on to be an All-Pro tight end in the NFL and is currently the Associate AD at BYU.

1993-1994: John Walsh / Jamal Willis / Eric Drage / Itula Mili

The Cougars, led by John Walsh and Co., took the Cougars to a 10-3 record in 1994 and finished the season ranked 18th in the country. Walsh threw for the sixth-most yards in BYU history during his time at BYU, while Jamal Willis rushed for nearly 3,000 yards and 35 touchdowns. Eric Drage is the third leading receiver in BYU history with 3,065 yards, and Itula Mili was one of the premier tight ends in BYU history before going on to have a 10-year career in the NFL.

1988-1991: Ty Detmer / Matt Bellini / Andy Boyce / Chris Smith

The only BYU player to take home college football’s top award, the Heisman Trophy, Ty Detmer is one of, if not the best, quarterbacks to wear a BYU uniform. Leading the Cougars to a 10-3 record in both 1989 and 1990, Detmer was joined by Matt Bellini who, despite being a running back, is the sixth leading receiver in BYU history with 204 catches for 2,635 yards. Andy Boyce caught 15 touchdowns from Ty Detmer in his two seasons for the Cougars, while Chris Smith is in the top 10 in BYU history in receiving yards.

1984-1985: Robbie Bosco / Lakei Heimuli / Glen Kozlowski / David Mills

The 1984 National Champions. There’s not much to say about this foursome other than they took home the greatest honor any team can achieve, a National Championship. As the only ones in BYU history to finish the season as the top team in the country, the 1984 team is forever etched into the history of BYU Football. Of course, they each had their own accomplishments to go along with the title. Bosco has thrown for the fifth-most yards in BYU history, as Glen Kozlowski is one of the top receivers in BYU history with 2,223 yards and 23 touchdowns for the Cougars.

1981-1983: Steve Young / Casey Tiumalu / Kirk Pendleton / Gordon Hudson

Everyone knows Steve Young as a Super Bowl Champion and NFL Hall of Famer, but he was one of the top college QB’s in the country during his time at BYU. Young accumulated 41 touchdowns in his 1983 season for the Cougars, throwing for 33 and adding another 8 on the ground. Casey Tiumalu ran for over 1,500 yards during his time at BYU before spending time with the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. One of the reason’s for Young’s success was the catching ability of Kirk Pendleton and Gordon Hudson. Pendleton caught 11 touchdowns during the Cougars’ 1983 campaign with Hudson grabbing 22 scores during his three seasons at BYU.

1980-1981: Jim Mcmahon / Eric Lane / Dan Plater / Clay Brown

Of course, everyone knows Jim McMahon, the only thing bigger than his personality was his arm. McMahon, with the help of a talented supporting cast, led the Cougars to two of their best seasons in school history with a 12-1 finish in 1980 and an 11-2 record in 1981. McMahon benefited from the rushing attack of Eric Lane who rushed for 10 touchdowns and caught another 4 in 1980 before going on to the NFL. Wide receiver Dan Pater hauled in 13 touchdowns in his two seasons with McMahon, while Clay Brown caught 48 passes for a jaw-dropping 1,009 yards in 1980, good for 21 yards per reception.

1977-1979: Marc Wilson / Homer Jones / Mike Chronister / Tod Thompson

Marc Wilson remains one of the top quarterbacks in BYU history. Wilson still sits in the top 10 all-time at BYU for passing yards, throwing for 7,637 yards and 61 touchdowns for his career with the Cougars. Homer Jones, a juco transfer, rushed for 7.3 yards per carry for Wilson and the Cougars in 1979, helping BYU to a 11-1 record. Meanwhile, Mike Chronister caught 52 passes for 850 yards from Wilson in 1978 as tight end Tod Thompson grabbed 34 passes for 560 yards and a team-high 5 scores during Wilson’s 1978 season.

1975-1977: Gifford Nielsen / Jeff Blanc / John Van Der Wouden / Todd Christensen

The group who helped to usher in the success of BYU Football. Led by Gifford Nielsen with 6,039 career passing yards to go along with 56 touchdowns, the Cougars finished 1976 with a 9-3 record, the most wins by a BYU Football team in a single season at that point. Jeff Blanc scored 29 touchdowns, both on the ground and through the air during his time at BYU, while John Van Der Wouden hauled in 18 touchdowns for the Cougars during Nielsen’s time at BYU. And Todd Christensen, while technically a fullback during his career at BYU, makes the list as a tight end, in part due to the fact that Christensen caught 13 career touchdown passes, compared to 8 rushing scores, at BYU before going on to have a successful NFL career.

But which of these BYU player combos do YOU think is the most prolific? Head over to @espn960sports on Twitter to vote for your favorite!

Voting will take place over three days on Twitter, with four player combos per day. The winner of each poll will face off for the ultimate BYU Player Combo Championship over the weekend with the winner announced on Monday on Cougar Sports with Ben Criddle!

Voting Schedule:

Wednesday, April 15

2013-2016: Taysom Hill / Jamaal Williams / Cody Hoffman / Devin Mahina
2007-2009: Max Hall / Harvey Unga / Austin Collie / Dennis Pitta
2003-2006: John Beck / Curtis Brown / Todd Watkins / Jonny Harline
2000-2001: Brandon Doman / Luke Staley / Reno Mahe / Doug Jolley

Thursday, April 16

1995-1996: Steve Sarkisian / Ronney Jenkins / K.O. Kealaluhi / Chad Lewis
1993-1994: John Walsh / Jamal Willis / Eric Drage / Itula Mili
1988-1991: Ty Detmer / Matt Bellini / Andy Boyce / Chris Smith
1984-1985: Robbie Bosco / Lakei Heimuli / Glen Kozlowski / David Mills

Friday, April 17

1981-1983: Steve Young / Casey Tiumalu / Kirk Pendleton / Gordon Hudson
1980-1981: Jim Mcmahon / Eric Lane / Dan Plater / Clay Brown
1977-1979: Marc Wilson / Homer Jones / Mike Chronister / Tod Thompson
1975-1977: Gifford Nielsen / Jeff Blanc / John Van Der Wouden / Todd Christensen


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