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BYU positions breakdown — receivers: Shumway, Trinnaman and Laulu-Pututau look to improve

BYU's receivers weren't the strength of the offense last season, but this year's group looks to change that.

With the Cougars' top three receivers gone from last season, younger players are going to have to step up. Some developments during spring practice are encouraging, including some promising progress at tight end.

Here's a breakdown of BYU's receivers for 2017:

Key loses

Nick Kurtz: Kurtz was BYU's leading receiver last season with 541 yards but only two touchdowns. Kurtz attended a minicamp for the Raiders.

Colby Pearson: Pearson led the team with four touchdowns. Pearson is now fighting for a roster spot in Green Bay.

Mitchell Juergens: Juergens was BYU's No. 3 receiver with 333 yards and two touchdowns. He even made a 9-yard pass completion as part of a fake field goal.

Projected depth chart

Note: This depth chart is based off of the one found in BYU's media guide


Jonah Trinnaman, Akile Davis


Talon Shumway, Micah Simon


Aleva Hifo, Inoke Lotulelei


Moroni Laulu-Pututau or Tanner Balderree, Matt Bushman

Peavler's take

The receivers seemed to be out of sync with Taysom Hill and Tanner Mangum last season, and the Cougars lost their top three from last season. While BYU has plenty of work to do at this position, there is hope that this position group could make a leap in the second year under offensive coordinator Ty Detmer.

First off, BYU fans should be excited about the return of the tight end position in Provo. While the Cougars have had some great ones as recently as Dennis Pitta and Andrew George in 2009, it's been awhile since BYU has leaned on this position.

Laulu-Pututau was moved from wide receiver to tight end this spring, and he has plenty of upside. He made 27 catches for 277 yards and two touchdowns last season. We'll see how he adjusts to his new position, but there's hope that he could step up to be the first great tight end at BYU since the Cougars went independent.

Balderree was the top tight end from last season with 156 yards on 13 receptions and two touchdowns, including this one in double overtime to beat Mississippi State. He was the first hint last season of the return of the tight end, and it will be fun to see what he can do in year two under Detmer.

But the star of BYU's spring game was Bushman, the freshman tight end. He made this rumbling 65-yard touchdown reception during the scrimmage:

He's part of a rising generation of tight ends who will hopefully bring back the glory days of the position in Provo.

Trinnaman is the top returning receiver from last season with 321 yards, although 75 yards came on a single touchdown reception. He reportedly ran a 4.34 second 40-yard dash. To put that in perspective, a time like that would have made him No. 3 among wide receivers at this year's NFL Combine. His blazing speed could be a great asset this season.

Shumway played basketball with the likes of Nick Emery and Eric Mika at Lone Peak, but he's now committed to football. For more on his transition, check out this article by our own Brandon Gurney. Shumway had three catches for 49 yards last season.

Hifo made most of his impact last season on special teams. He had 440 yards on 21 kickoff returns, including a 50-yard return against West Virginia. His hard work on special teams has paid off as he sits on top of the depth chart at the slot receiver.

Davis redshirted last season, but reportedly had a good spring and could be a solid contributor this season. Simon is another speedster who also is coming off a redshirt season. Lotulelei is a cousin of former Ute Star Lotulelei and was a member of the scout team last season.