BYU’s playing of true freshman tight end Austin Holt Saturday in the Washington game could be an indication to Cougar fans that coaches have some big plans for Holt this season.
With four talented and capable freshmen tight ends on the roster in Mike Muehlmann, Devin Mahina, Richard Wilson and Marcus Mathews, it was thought that Austin could be a candidate to redshirt in 2010.
However, it looks as though his talent was too much to pass on this year, even with the current log jam of talent at the position.
His appearance Saturday means that the 6′5″, 245 pound freshman will not be redshirting this season per NCAA rules.
Holt played at Bingham High, a perennial power in Utah high school football. He was regarded by some as the top prep tight end in the country in 2008.
Austin served an LDS Church mission to St. Louis straight out of high school and returned just weeks before the start of fall camp.
All four of the other primary candidates at TE had the advantage of having a spring camp under their belts, and in the case of Muehlmann and Wilson, a redshirt season in 2009. Holt began fall camp playing catch up with the others and it appears the process is just about complete.
With Holt in the mix, the Cougars have five tight ends competing for playing time. Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall says that BYU will utilize the various strengths of each player in different roles as the season progresses.
But reason would indicate that Holt’s redshirt year was burned so early in the schedule because coaches see Holt playing a significant role as the season advances.
BYU tight ends accounted for five receptions, 77 yards and no touchdowns in Saturday’s victory over Washington.
By comparison, BYU’s combination of Dennis Pitta and Andrew George averaged seven receptions, 95 yards and one touchdown per game in 2009. Richard Wilson led all Cougar tight ends on Saturday with three catches for 45 yards. Devin Mahina missed the game due to an ankle injury.