BYU Football Countdown: Player 70 – Walk-on winner

Tom Hauck /Allsport
Tom Hauck /Allsport /
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(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images) /

Player 70 Mark Bellini – Receiver – 1982-1986

Mark Bellini arrived in Provo in 1982 unrecruited and without much hope of ever playing college football. After an impressive tryout however he made the team as a walk-on. During his freshman season he only saw the field a few times catching two passes, but after another impressive performance in spring football and fall camp, he got his chance in 1983 to show off his skills.

Not only did Bellini make a difference, he became the leading receiver for the Cougars his junior and senior seasons and helped the Cougars to a win a national championship in 1984 and then lead the Cougars to a 19-8 record in 1985 and 1986.


Impact C+

Bellini’s real impact came at a time when BYU had already won a national title. With the national attention on the Cougars in 1985 after scrutiny and debate on whether they deserved the title, Bellini helped keep BYU relevant as a really good team. Although is impact was limited in 1984, he still was able to pull down 627 receiving yards and he scored a big touchdown against Wyoming that ended up being the score difference in the game. In 1985, Bellini scored every touchdown against Temple just about beat Air Force by himself. Without those two wins, BYU drops to 8-5 on the season and critics would have said that BYU never did deserve the 1984 title.

Statistics B+

2,550 yards in three seasons, 23 touchdowns and a 16.4 yards per catch average are the kind of statistics you expect from a four star recruit when they sign with a team. But those are the stats that walk-on Mark Bellini had in three seasons. Bellini led the team in receiving yards in 1985 and 1986, again for anyone is impressive, but for a walk-on already on an elite team that is phenomenal. The only statistic that hurts him is that he fumbled the ball five times and after 14 touchdowns in 1985 he only pulled down 1986 five.

Memorable Moments C

The memorable moments of Bellini are not the ones that are seen on highlight reels or stat sheets, but rather are the stories that are told in the locker room to this day about working hard, and if you want something bad enough you go out and get it. Bellini has one of the most inspiring stories ever at BYU. He arrived in Provo in hopes of playing football. Bellini was not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints showing that in all likelihood his reason for coming was to be at a good school and to play football. He actually made the team as a defensive back, but he didn’t want to play on defense, he wanted to score touchdowns. He did end up getting baptized later, but his step into the dark to play football at BYU paid off and he is one of only a few players to be able to claim to be a national champion.

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Tomorrow we hit the 60’s! If you’ve missed any of the other players on the list check them out below.

Player 71 The first spark

Player 72 Shoe almost fit

Player 73 1984’s anchor

Player 74 Ty’s go to guy

Player 75 Diamond in the rough

Player 76 Swiss Army Knife

Player 77 Got his revenge

Player 78-88 Recap

Player 89-100 Recap