Puka Nacua had a historic NFL rookie season last year. But the records set by Nacua could be rewritten this fall by another wide receiver with ties to Provo, Utah.

Rome Odunze, who was drafted by the Chicago Bears ninth overall, has his sights set on Nacua’s records, he told the media last week. Odunze and Nacua were teammates at Washington before Nacua transferred to BYU.

“I think that’s important for every player to set those goals and strive for the highest of the highs,” Odunze said. “It’s unique in my situation because I went to school with Puka Nacua, so I was following him and got to see what he did, so, absolutely, I’m chasing that. I think he’s right around 1,500, right? For that rookie season record. Absolutely chasing that.”

Last season, Nacua set the NFL rookie single-season records for receptions and receiving yards with 105 and 1,648, respectively. He also broke the rookie record for most receiving yards in a playoff game with 181 yards and a touchdown in his lone playoff game.

Nacua was fortunate to be catching passes from Super Bowl-winning quarterback Matthew Stafford. Odunze will be working with this year’s first overall pick, Caleb Williams.

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What Puka Nacua said about breaking 2 NFL rookie records on regular season’s final day

Will Rome Odunze look to break any NFL and Chicago Bears records?

Odunze is also eying records within the Bears organization for single-season and career leaders.

Brandon Marshall holds the team’s single-season reception (118) and receiving yards (1,508) record, and Johnny Morris tallied 5,059 receiving yards for the Bears from 1958 to 1967 and is the Bears’ career receiving yards leader, according to Pro-Football Reference.

“Of course, chasing those records, and I think that’s important because, you know, I said this at Washington, I hopefully leave the Bears organization better than I found it,” he said. “And if I have my name on some of those records, I feel like that’s just one facet of doing so.”

Why a top-10 pick called Provo, Utah, from the NFL draft

What is Rome Odunze’s connection to Utah?


Odunze grew up in Las Vegas but was born in Orem, Utah, according to USA Today. Every summer, he would visit his grandparents’ farm in Provo, where he learned to work hard from his grandfather, Wayne Bunnell, as the rookie receiver told ESPN.

“I really model my work ethic after my grandpa. He worked for so long on that farm to feed his family, to make ends meet,” he said.

After he was drafted in April, Odunze FaceTimed his grandpa in Utah, as the Deseret News previously reported. He shared a video clip of the call on Instagram.

“I’m going to Chicago, Grandpa!” he told Bunnell. “I’m super excited. I just wanted to call and see your face and tell you thank you for all that you did to help me get to this point.”

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