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Isaac Rex and his ‘four quarterbacks’ are ready to make history

The prolific BYU tight end is on the cusp of breaking Gordon Hudson’s TD receptions record, and could do so Saturday at Arkansas

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BYU tight end Isaac Rex carries the ball against Sam Houston during game Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, in Provo, Utah.

BYU tight end Isaac Rex carries the ball against Sam Houston during game Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, in Provo, Utah.

Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

Notre Dame made history with the “Four Horsemen.” Isaac Rex is doing the same with the “Four Quarterbacks.”

With a touchdown catch Saturday at Arkansas, the BYU tight end will make history. Rex and Cougars legend Gordon Hudson are tied at the top of the Cougars’ impressive list of tight ends with 22 touchdown receptions.

“Being such a BYU fan, I can’t deny how much I’ve dreamed of this moment,” Rex told BYUtv’s “Gameday” program. “Just as a kid, dreaming of playing for BYU and being a tight end like my dad (Byron) and looking up to guys like Dennis Pitta, Chad Lewis, Itula Mili, Matt Bushman and the others and to chase someone as good as Gordon Hudson in just one category has been really cool.”

Hudson caught his 22 touchdowns from Jim McMahon, Steve Young and Robbie Bosco between 1980 and 1983. Rex has collected his from Zach Wilson, Baylor Romney, Jaren Hall and Kedon Slovis. All four throw a different kind of ball, but with the same results.

Zach Wilson: 12 touchdowns

Zach throws a very accurate ball. He always put it right on the money, in the sweet spot that was comfortable for me,” Rex said of his dozen touchdowns from Wilson during the tight end’s freshman All-America 2020 season. “I felt like we had a really good connection that year, but he had a great connection with everybody. Zach was slinging it all over the field.”

Jaren Hall: 7 touchdowns

“It was so fun playing with Jaren. His dual-threat mentality was huge for us. Defenses had to worry about his feet too,” Rex said. “He had some amazing games at BYU. That 2021 season was awesome. Taking care of the Pac-12, that was all Jaren.”

Baylor Romney: 2 touchdowns

“Baylor put a nice touch on the ball. I think back to the Arizona State game (2021). He put it in the perfect spot as he was scrambling and got hit,” Rex said of Romney’s game-sealing touchdown toss against the Sun Devils. “Baylor was a winner. Whenever he came in, he was a total gamer. He can put it on the money.”

Kedon Slovis: 1 touchdown

“He’s been playing since 2019. He knows where to put it. The first game was a little rough, but this last game (Southern Utah) was the Slovis we saw all fall camp,” Rex said. “He was lights out. He just puts it on the money. We expect more of that and he expects more of that through the season.”

Rex and Slovis connected on a 20-yard touchdown during the first quarter against the Thunderbirds, which allowed Rex to pass Pitta and pull even with Hudson. The two thought they had a second touchdown just before halftime, but Rex was tackled at the 5-yard line after a 65-yard catch-and-run.

“During the play, I was thinking, ‘Oh, I’ve got it. I’m going to beat the record,’” Rex said. “It’s gonna be so cool running into the end zone, and then some corner (Jordan Washington) caught me and ruined the whole thing.”

Rex and his quarterback will take another shot at the record Saturday at Arkansas (5:30 p.m., ESPN2). Barring an injury, taking his place at the top of the BYU tight ends is just a matter of time. When it does happen, Rex pledges to keep the “coolness” of the moment in perspective.

“That’s been my role at BYU is to get touchdowns,” he said. “It doesn’t mean anything about who is better. I consider those guys a lot better than me because I look up to them so much. I put them on a higher pedestal. I just think of me being Isaac Rex, a kid from San Clemente, California, who is just hanging out and playing football.”

Notre Dame’s “Four Horsemen” were made famous in Irish lore for how they ran the football in 1924. On Saturday, 99 years later, Rex can secure his legendary status at BYU because of how he catches the football — in the end zone, with thanks to the “Four Quarterbacks” who have thrown him the ball.


BYU tight end Isaac Rex makes a jumping catch over Malik Moore during practice in Provo on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023. Rex could break BYU tight ends TD receptions record on Saturday against Arkansas.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

You can see Dave McCann’s interview with Isaac Rex Saturday on BYUtv’s “Gameday” program at 3:30 p.m. MDT, including how chasing Hudson’s record, and his faith, helped him through a devastating ankle injury in 2021 that threatened to end his career.