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.

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.

“We are going to wear him out, I can tell you that. He’s not going to come off the field unless he asks himself to come off the field.” — BYU tight ends coach Steve Clark on Matt Bushman

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.

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.

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BYU tight ends coach Steve Clark said in May that the Cougars’ offense in 2020 would be built around Bushman’s talents.

“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.