With the 2012 season opener, it appeared BYU's tight end woes were over. Kaneakua Friel led the team with 101 receiving yards and two touchdowns. In the final 12 games, Friel had just 207 more receiving yards.
As a group, tight ends had 47 receptions, 570 yards, and 7 touchdowns in 2012, but things still didn't feel right. Therefore, this has been a busy offseason for that position.
Friel is a senior this season and has been seen playing in the backfield during fall camp, in addition to the traditional tight end spot. He also has some competition for his job.
Junior Brett Thompson saw very limited action last season, his first following missionary service. Since December, he has on some pounds. A former wide receiver, Thompson was listed as the co-starter at tight end at the end of spring practices. It appears Anae has some new wrinkles up his sleeve. Thompson is listed at just 220 pounds, which is small for a tight end.
Richard Wilson looked like the front runner to be Pitta's successor back in 2010 after a 3 catch, 45 yard performance in that season's season opener. Since then he has only made 20 more receptions for roughly 250 yards in two and a half seasons. A knee injury in 2011 derailed his development. He is a senior, so this is his last season to make anything special of his career.
Devin Mahina is another junior. He has the biggest frame at 6-foot-6 and 247 pounds. His 38-yard reception in the Poinsettia Bowl helped BYU get a field goal right before halftime. Like Friel and Wilson, Mahina has flashed the tools to be a good tight end, but hasn't produced in bulk.
Bryan Sampson is back from his mission. He caught the game winning touchdown in the 2011 spring game following a redshirt season in 2010.
Stehly Reden, a sophomore, and Michael Edmonds, a freshman, are also listed as tight ends on the roster.
Austin Holt has been moved to the defensive line. Marcus Mathews has lost some weight and moved back to wide receiver.
The forecast for 2013 doesn't look promising for the tight ends, unless the role Anae envisions for Thompson turns out to be very productive.
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