PROVO — There's been a lot of talk about the BYU tight ends this fall, and BYU receiver Talon Shumway is well aware of it. From freshman spring game phenom Matt Bushman to Moroni Laulu-Pututau, who has switched from receiver to tight end, coaches and players are consistently bombarded with questions about the assumed tight-end renaissance within the program.
So what does Shumway, who has been having a productive fall camp himself, think of all the tight end talk?
“Sometimes we like hearing about it. It’s sort of a love-hate thing hearing so much about them and how great and how wonderful they are. I mean, we’re here too,” Shumway quipped with his typical wry smile. “But seriously, we’re happy about it. It’s a great thing for the offense and it will definitely balance everything up and will open up the field. We need them and we feel they need us.”
Indeed the receivers will play a role in the tight ends' success and vice versa, with Shumway and other receivers working hard to warrant as much attention as possible from opposing defenses. As the season opener against Portland State nears, Shumway is someone readily noted as having put in a lot of good work.
“He’s a great athlete and he’s a competitor,” appraised BYU receivers coach Ben Cahoon. “He’s a big, tall guy and strong too, so he’s had a nice camp and he’s been really consistent.”
Shumway stands at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds. After enduring some serious injury issues, the Lone Peak product is feeling far removed from what ailed him and is ready to show well this season.
BYU wide receiver Talon Shumway talks to the media after practice in Provo on Monday, July 31, 2017. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
When asked if he feels like a high school sophomore again, physically, he again shows his wry smile, responding, “I wouldn’t say that, but maybe like a really healthy 40-year-old? Let’s go with that. But seriously, I feel really good. I could probably lose some weight, but overall I feel as good as I have for a long time.”
It's been a really long time since the sophomore receiver has been a consistent option at the wideout position. He did manage three receptions for 49 yards late last season, but it's a far cry from the dominating presence he provided for Lone Peak from 2010-12.
Shumway signed with BYU as part of the 2013 class and was rated the No. 1 receiving prospect from the state that year. He then served a two-year LDS mission to McAllen, Texas, before trying to regain and even improve upon his great form in high school.
Doing so hasn't been easy.
He underwent surgery upon returning home and was only able to regain some of his original form last season. This fall he's making additional strides and looks to be a top receiving option heading into the 2017 season.
Cahoon stated in a recent interview that much of the focus of his wideouts is effectively getting off the line to complete routes — something his position group has struggled with against teams that play press coverage. Enter Shumway, whose physical brand of play could prove beneficial when facing physical and aggressive secondaries, such as LSU and Utah.
“He does a lot of things well and he’s just a well-rounded athlete,” Cahoon said. “He gets off the jam extremely well for a big guy.”
As for Shumway, it's the number of victories the Cougars notch this season, not his number of catches, that matters most.
“I just want wins. That’s it,” Shumway said. “I just want to help with that, and do whatever I can to get 14 wins, if possible. I don’t have any specific number of catches in mind or anything like that. I just want to get wins. That’s what it’s about.”