Ty Detmer vs. Jim McMahon: Ranking the All-Time BYU Football Offensive Team
BYU closed out its 2011 regular season with a dominating 41-20 victory at Hawaii on Saturday. As the Cougars prepare for the upcoming Armed Forces Bowl, left tackle Matt Reynolds will await word whether he has been named to any All-American teams after closing out a stellar senior season.
Reynolds will finish his career as one of the greatest offensive linemen to ever run out onto the field at LaVell Edwards Stadium. However, would Reynolds make the first team of an all-time BYU team?
And what about the rest of the offensive positions? How can one possibly determine the first-team quarterback at BYU? Steve Young? Jim McMahon? Max Hall? Robbie Bosco? And the list goes on.
Without any further ado, here it is—the first-team all-time BYU offensive team.
Let the debate begin.
Offensive Line: Mohammed Elewonibi (1988-1989)
Despite having never played a down of football in high school, "Mount Mohammed" came to BYU via Snow Junior College and became the most dependable lineman to protect the up-and-coming Ty Detmer.
In 1989, Elewonibi was a consensus All-American and won the Outland Trophy as the nation's most outstanding interior lineman.
Second Team - Trevor Matich (1979-80, '83-84)
Offensive Line: John Tait (1993, 1996-1998)
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The Tempe, Arizona, native started all 37 games he played in during his three-year career at BYU.
As a junior, Tait was a first-team All-American (Football News) and a first-team All-WAC choice.
After having earned his degree during his junior year of eligibility, Tait declared early for the NFL Draft and was a first-round selection of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Second Team - Brad Oates (1973-75)
Offensive Line: Evan Pilgrim (1990-1994)
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As a three-year starter, Pilgrim anchored an offensive line that helped Jamal Willis become BYU's all-time leading rusher.
As a senior in 1994, Pilgrim was a first-team All-WAC performer and was selected as a second-team All-American.
Second Team - Dallas Reynolds (2005-08)
Offensive Line: Matt Reynolds (2008-2011)
Following his father (Lance Sr.) and older brothers (Lance Jr. and Dallas) to BYU, Matt was named to numerous Freshman All-American teams in 2008.
Reynolds has started every game during his BYU career and was named first-team All MWC as both a sophomore and junior.
Prior to his senior season this year, Reynolds was named a preseason All-American and was named as a candidate for the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Awards.
Second Team - Orrin Olsen (1972-75)
Offensive Line: Nick Eyre (1976-1980)
"The Bear" was the first BYU lineman to be a consensus All-American while also helping the Cougars to four WAC titles, three Holiday Bowl appearances and a 41-8 record.
In addition to being an All-American, Eyre was third in the Outland Trophy voting in 1980.
Second Team - Bart Oates (1977, 1980-82)
Tight End: Dennis Pitta (2004, 2007-2009)
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BYU's all-time receptions leader (221) is also the BYU record holder in total receptions, receiving yards (2,901) and total receptions in a season (83) for the TE position.
Pitta was named a consensus All-American in 2009 and was a finalist for the Mackey Award (nation's most outstanding TE).
Second Team - Gordon Hudson (1980-83), Chris Smith (1987-90)
Wide Receiver: Phil Odle (1965-1967)
Odle was a first-team All-WAC selection in each of his three seasons at BYU. During his first season as a Cougar, Odle led BYU to its first-ever conference championship.
Odle ended his career as the all-time leading receiver in the WAC and held every major receiving record at BYU.
Second-Team - Eric Drage (1990-93)
Wide Receiver: Austin Collie (2004, 2007-2008)
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"4th-and-18" is what most Cougar fans will remember about Collie's BYU career, referring to Collie's late fourth-quarter reception on 4th-and-18 which led to BYU's last-minute victory over the rival Utah Utes in 2007.
In only three seasons, Collie ended his career as the all-time BYU receptions leader and still holds the all-time BYU record in total receiving yards.
As a junior, Collie led the nation in total receiving yards (1,538) and yards per game (118.3). He was a consensus All-American prior to foregoing his senior year for the NFL Draft.
Second-Team - Matt Bellini (1987-90)
Running Back: Curtis Brown (2002-2006)
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What can Brown do for you? All he did for the Cougars was carry BYU and their fans through the "Crowton Years" by finishing his career as BYU's all-time leader in all-purpose (4,996) and rushing yards (3,193). Brown also became the first running back in BYU history with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
Brown set a MWC record with 15 100-yard rushing games during his career and was a first-team All-MWC conference selection as a junior and a senior.
Second Team - Jamal Willis (1991-94), Lakei Heimuli (1983-86)
Running Back: Harvey Unga (2006-2009)
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In only three seasons, Unga became BYU's all-time leading rusher in attempts (696) and yards (3,455). Unga ranks third behind Curtis Brown and Austin Collie in total all-purpose yards (4,540).
Unga was named as a Freshman All-American and the MWC Freshman of the Year in 2007. Unga also holds the BYU record for most 100-yard rushing games and total rushing yards as a freshman.
Unga was a first-team All-MWC selection as a junior.
Second-Team - Luke Staley (1999-2001)
Quarterback: Ty Detmer (1987-1991)
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Ty Detmer is BYU's only Heisman Trophy winner and ended his BYU playing career having broken 59 NCAA quarterback records, including the NCAA's all-time leading passing record (15,031 yards).
In one of the biggest victories in BYU history, Detmer led BYU over the No. 1-ranked Miami Hurricanes, 28-21, kicking off his Heisman Trophy-winning campaign.
Detmer was also a two-time consensus All-American, a two-time winner of the Davey O'Brien Trophy (nation's most outstanding quarterback) and a winner of the Maxwell Award (nation's player of the year).
Second Team - Jim McMahon (1978-81), Steve Young (1980-83)