No. 86 Mitch Matthews – Receiver – 2012-2015
Mitch Matthews was silently one of BYU’s best receivers of all time. He won’t be remembered that way however because of when he played and his lack of great moments in rivalry games. His playing time came during the awkward period of 2012-2015 when BYU struggled to keep a quarterbacks and running backs healthy. Because of that, Matthews was often the only consistent leadership on the field. Over his career, Matthews had six different quarterbacks play significant time, all while Taysom Hill was on the team.
Matthews actually had a good career, but in some cases he disappeared when the moment was biggest. In his two games against the Utes, Matthews had a combined five catches for 62 yards, which for a normal receiver would be sub par, but for a player averaging five catches and about 60 yards per game, that is not acceptable in the biggest moments.
Had Matthews been effective against Utah, perhaps the game in 2013 or 2015 would have gone in the Cougars way. I’m not here to bash on Matthews, it just is odd and a bit sad that a player with the talent and statline of Matthews was not a factor against the Utes.
As mentioned before, to make an impact you have to show up in the big games. For some games, Matthews was a big impact such as against Utah State in 2013 when Matthews had five catches and three touchdowns. We also can’t forget the Miracle at Memorial when he pulled down the hail mary catch as time expired. Overall, Matthews’ impact was hit and miss, which when ranked against the best of the best is not good enough to get a good grade.
Mitch Matthews had a really solid statline during his career at BYU. Many of the players on this list so far have lost points because they were only really good for a season or two, but Matthews was a solid receiver for three seasons. In those three years, he had 2,083 yards receiving, a 13.7 yards per catch, and 27 touchdown catches. In his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, he caught at least one pass in every game that he was part of. He was also good at the long bomb catches. Standing at 6’6″, quarterbacks, especially Tanner Mangum, would heave passes deep and more times than not Matthews would come down with them. He had catches of 72, 71, 48, 43 and 42 yards.
Memorable Moments B-
The Mangum Miracle was only possible because of the height and vertical of Matthews. Any other receiver would have likely not been able to locate the ball high enough to bring down the ball before Nebraska defenders got their hands on it. Matthews also had a great moments against Utah State pulling down six career touchdown passes, including the 72 yard catch his senior season. Matthews again was a really good player and a dependable target, but the lack of memorable moments against Utah and Boise State (a combined 214 yards in six games with only one TD catch) hurts his memorable moments ranking.