clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

There’s more to BYU’s Micah Simon than his standout performance against Tennessee

Simon had the game of his career against Tennessee last Saturday, but his teammates and coaches were thankful for his contributions long before then.

Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Micah Simon (13) runs in the open field after making a catch, setting up the game-tying field goal, as BYU and Tennessee play a game in Knoxville on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. BYU won 29-26 in double overtime.  
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

PROVO — At the 12:47 mark of the third quarter during BYU’s thrilling 29-26 double overtime win over Tennessee last Saturday, Cougar running back Ty’Son Williams sprung outside to score on a 16-yard touchdown run, cutting Tennessee’s lead to 13-10. As always, Williams wasn’t able to do it alone and received the help from a number of teammates, including receiver Micah Simon, who threw a critical block on the perimeter to help enable the score.

Simon’s block likely went unnoticed by many fans, unlike his his 64-yard reception toward the end of regulation, which most fans won’t forget any time soon.

But for Simon, laying the block to help spring Williams for the score was just as important.

“It doesn’t really matter to him if he’s catching the football or blocking. He takes a lot of pride in the team being successful,” said BYU coach Kalani Sitake. “So I’m just really thankful that he’s one of our leaders and ... I rely on him heavily to help make decisions and get (his) feedback.”

A lot of players claim the team-first concept, saying all the right things in interviews, although their true mindset would reveal something different. But with regard to Simon, his unselfish attitude feels completely genuine and is backed up heartily by his teammates.

“He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had in my life,” said BYU offensive lineman Brady Christensen. “He’s a great leader, a great friend, and a great person. It was awesome to see him have the type of game that he had. ... He’s been great to me and has been a great leader to me — especially last year as a freshman to calm down (during) games. ... He’s really helped me a ton.”

Simon is a 6-foot-1 receiver from Dallas, who entered the Cougar program back in 2015. He spent his freshman year making little to no significant contributions on the field and redshirted in 2016 before contributing 27 receptions the year after and appearing poised to become one of the team’s leading receivers.

But that didn’t happen, as Simon’s receptions were cut down by more than half in 2018. The reason may have been due to a change in the offensive system or having to do with other factors, although the Bishop Dunne High product didn’t let it hold him down and made certain to contribute heavily in other areas beyond making receptions.

Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Micah Simon (13) looks to make a long catch setting up the game-tying field goal as BYU and Tennessee play a game in Knoxville on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. BYU won 29-26 in double overtime.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Those contributions were referenced by Christensen and certainly not unnoticed by Sitake and a lot of others.

“He’s put a lot of his heart and soul into this program,” Sitake said. “There are some things people don’t see with (helping enhance) the culture.”

As for Simon, he’ll certainly take last Saturday’s breakout performance of seven receptions for 127 yards and one of the more iconic receptions in recent Cougar football history, but almost entirely for what it meant for the team, rather than just himself.

“It’s just my job to go out there and make plays when my number’s called. I would have felt the same way if I would have had one catch or seven,” Simon said. “That’s what I’ve wanted to accomplish this season — to be just a consistent and reliable player.”

BYU players gather at the tunnel as BYU and Tennessee prepare to play a game in Knoxville on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Simon didn’t immediately take to his current role as a leader his first few seasons at BYU, preferring to learn from teammates such as Taysom Hill, Bronson Kaufusi and Fred Warner, a player he was and still is particularly close to.

“You just kind of have to wait for your time,” he said. “Kalani always talks about how anyone can be a leader, and that was tough for me as a freshman and a sophomore because you kind of feel you haven’t earned the right for your teammates to listen to you or to even trust you. But you just have to go for it.”

As for Simon’s teammates and coaches, and now for just about every Cougar fan out there, they’ll forever be grateful he did go for it and embraced his role the way he has.