No. 74 Chris Smith – Tight end – 1987-1990
Ty Detmer threw for a lot of yards in 1989 and 1990 but there is only one receiver who can claim to have caught for 1,000 in both of those years and it was Chris Smith. Smith gets overlooked quite often because despite the yards he gained on receptions, he didn’t score all that often, especially considering that Detmer threw for 73 touchdowns in those two years.
Smith sort of reminds me of Devon Blackman who also had quite an impact on the offense in the passing game but didn’t find the endzone nearly as often as he should. Blackman never did reach the endzone, and Smith found it eight times but the lack of touchdowns is surprising for both players.
Regardless of how many times he reached the endzone however, without his production and receiving yards, who knows whether Detmer would have won the heisman.
As mentioned before, Smith was the only receiver/tight end that had 1,000 yards both in 1989 and 1990 for BYU. Smith also had at least five catches in 18 of the 26 games those two seasons. This goes a bit into stats, but his 17 yards per catch also had quite the impact for the Cougars especially when so many of his catches came on third down.
Chris Smith played in the majority of the games for his final three seasons which is a booster to his ranking. The 2,517 career receiving yards and 17 yards per catch are numbers that are nearly unmatched by any receiver or tight end. In a game against Utah, where BYU won 70-32, Smith not only six catches, but his average was 32.3 yards per catch with a long of 76 yards. Perhaps the most impressive stat about Smith was he averaged 17 yards per catch and that wasn’t really brought up with huge gains. Many of his games the longest catch he had was 24 to 28 yards. One statistic that hurts is the touchdowns, again with only nine. That doesn’t stack up well against other players on this list.
Memorable Moments C
Just being the go to receiver for Ty Detmer makes Chris Smith a memorable player, but most of the fame will probably end up going to Jeff Frandson and Andy Boyce who brought in 9 and 13 touchdowns in 1989 and 1990. The 2,517 receiving yards is memorable to a point, but in all the games I watched, there weren’t any plays that really stuck out as being memorable. Also, BYU was SO DOMINANT in 1990 winning games 62-34, 54-7, and 45-14 that there wasn’t really opportunities to have the memorable 4th down catch or game winning score.
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Happy Fathers Day! Tomorrow we will bring you player 73!