PROVO — Though he’s listed at only 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, BYU senior wide receiver Dylan Collie stands out at fall camp practices.
Part of it is because he’s the most experienced wideout on the roster and he’s a proven playmaker. Part of it is because of the prestige of the Collie name — brother Austin is No. 2 all-time in receiving yards at the school while another brother, Zac, and his dad, Scott, are also former Cougar receivers. And part of it is because while he's a newcomer, he's no stranger here. This marks his second stint at BYU.
Something else that separates Dylan Collie from his teammates — he wears a sleeveless hoodie underneath his practice jersey.
The graduate transfer from Hawaii explains the hoodie is a byproduct of having played in the balmy climes of the islands the past three seasons.
“It’s nice to sweat out things in terms of the dryness. It creates a humid environment and loosens up my muscles because it’s hotter under here,” Collie said. “I feel like I’m able to perform a little bit better, and it doesn’t help that it kind of looks good. I enjoy it. I’m getting old. At almost 25 years old and still a season left, I need to be as warm and as humid as possible for my joints to warm up and to be able to play at a top level for four hours a day.”
As a senior, Collie has come full circle. He redshirted as a freshman at BYU in 2012 and played on the scout team before serving an LDS mission to Richmond, Virginia. When Collie returned from his mission, he transferred to Hawaii, where he caught 118 passes for 1,300 yards and nine touchdowns after playing in every game for three years for the Warriors.
Last season, Collie hauled in a team-high 56 passes for 636 yards, which is more than any BYU receiver or tight end recorded in 2017.
In an interesting twist, Collie’s final game for Hawaii came last November in a 30-20 loss to the Cougars at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. And this season, he’ll face the Warriors in Provo on Oct. 13.
Last winter, Collie decided to take advantage of the grad transfer rule for his final season of eligibility, narrowing his choices to BYU and Vanderbilt.
What enticed him to return to the Cougar program?
“You see the excitement and the genuine energy of what BYU football really is and the foundation of it,” Collie said. “My wife and I had a chance to come see it in the spring. That really stood out to me. The level of comfort and love I felt here was far beyond anything I could have imagined. It was an easy decision at the end.”
Collie, who's looking forward to making his first official catch in a BYU uniform, arrived in Provo in mid-May, and he began working out with the team in early June. He made an immediate impact on his teammates, especially the receivers. Of the group, Collie is the only senior.
“There’s a lot of things he knows about the game of football. He’s caught a lot of balls. You see his leadership,” said coach Kalani Sitake. “He doesn’t mind helping the younger guys out. He’s helped with our young receivers. He’s not shy. He’s not a guy that’s going to wait to say something. He just steps in there, and if he sees something, he’s going to open his mouth. It’s nice having a guy that has that much experience and is also about helping the team.”
Despite his experience, Collie admitted that there’s a steep learning curve when it comes to picking up a new offense.
“I’m learning from these guys. It’s a good experience. But it’s tough. It’s been a roller coaster, and I’m trying to settle down and get comfortable so I can play my version of football,” he said. “The offense is different. It’s more about the procedure — being in the huddle and listening to a quarterback’s voice is different because there are different terms. You’re trying to process all that instead of just looking at someone and getting the signal. It’s a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. It’s something I’ve got to work on so I can get comfortable and play to the best of my ability.”
Though he’s glad to be in Provo, Collie said it was tough to leave the island of Oahu and his relatives who live there, including his sister, Cameryn, who plays volleyball at Hawaii Pacific University.
“I miss Hawaii in general. I miss the state, the people, my family that’s out there,” he said. “I have a bunch of family members on Oahu. It’s hard not being around them.”
At the same time, he enjoys being around Austin and his family, who live in South Jordan.
Wide receivers coach Fesi Sitake traveled to Hawaii last winter to recruit Dylan, and he’s thrilled to have him on the roster.
“He’s brought a ton of mental toughness. He’s very resilient and he’s very hard on himself. That’s why he’s going to find his way on the field, because he has such high expectations,” Sitake said. “If I can keep him level-headed in certain situations and easy on himself, he’s going to be just fine. He’s constantly studying film, he’s working hard and getting extra work after practice. He brings great leadership and great experience. He learned a tough playbook as fast as anyone that I’ve seen. You can tell that he’s driven with the one year that he has.”
Like Austin, Zac and Scott Collie, Dylan is a hard-working perfectionist. “It’s in the Collie DNA,” Sitake said. “We’re happy to have him.”
And Collie is happy to have returned for his second tour of duty at BYU and for his final season of college football.
“What I’ve been given to be back here with this team is such a wonderful and rare opportunity. I just want to give it all for them,” he said. “I want to let it all hang out so this staff and this team know that I am a BYU Cougar through and through. I enjoyed my time at Hawaii, but I’m rooted here, and this is something I’ve known from the beginning and I’ll continue to be loyal to.”