PROVO — BYU will be without one of its best players when the Cougars open the condensed 2020 football season Monday at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Star tight end Matt Bushman, an All-America candidate and one of the top pass-catchers in school history, “suffered a season-ending injury in practice Monday and will miss the 2020 football season,” BYU confirmed in a school news release Tuesday afternoon.
Sources told the Deseret News that Bushman ruptured his Achilles tendon as practice was wrapping up and had to be carted off the field. An MRI performed Tuesday morning confirmed their worst fears.
Jake Hatch of the LockedOnCougars podcast first reported the development.
Bushman’s injury occurred toward the end of practice; as he was taken off the practice field, the team knelt in prayer and coaches determined practice was over, parents of several players said.
Update on Matt Bushman, per #sources - He will undergo an MRI, but it is feared that he has suffered a torn or ruptured Achilles tendon in practice yesterday. That would end his season as recovery timeline is 4-6 months before being able to resume full workouts. #BYUfootball #BYU— Jake Hatch 哈雅各 (@JacobCHatch) September 1, 2020
Former BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum ruptured his Achilles tendon while setting up to throw a pass in a 20-13 loss at Fresno State on Nov. 5, 2017, and didn’t receive full clearance to return to contact drills until five months after surgery.
As of now, BYU’s drastically reconstructed 2020 schedule includes eight games. Athletic director Tom Holmoe tweeted Monday that he may add games after the season begins.
Could add games as season progresses. Some of the conferences have left dates open at end of the season in order or the possibility of make up games from those postponed. Some teams MIGHT chose to play a non-conference game with us that their opponent choses not to make up. https://t.co/nKWs4nofRy— Tom Holmoe (@TomHolmoe) August 31, 2020
Bushman considered entering last April’s NFL draft but decided to return a few days after BYU’s loss in the Hawaii Bowl and was recently listed as one of the top 250 seniors in the country by the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
“We are going to wear him out, I can tell you that,” Clark said. “He’s not going to come off the field unless he asks himself to come off the field.”
Now, redshirt freshman tight end Isaac Rex, listed as the backup when BYU released its depth chart for the Navy game, will presumably become the Cougars’ starting tight end. BYU also has Carter Wheat, Lane Lunt, Ben Tuipulotu, Hank Tuipulotu and Bentley Hanshaw listed as tight ends on its 2020 roster.