The start of the BYU Football season is only 51 days away!
Yesterday, I wrote about Lavell’s first quarterback Gifford Nielson. While I did call it that, I do fully realize that Gare Sheide was actually Lavell’s first quarterback and he was a good one at that. The reason why I called Nielson the first quarterback is because he was the first one who REALLY stuck out for BYU and took Lavell’s game plan and made it effective.
Shiede, who will be featured later in the countdown, only threw 4,554 yards in two seasons, something good for that time period, but not quite the Lavell offense. That is why I called Gifford the first quarterback. Gifford was the first one to lead the offense in a pass first kind of game plan.
Today’s player will feature our final offensive lineman in the countdown. I feel bad that I can’t put them as high as perhaps they would perhaps deserve to be, but with a lack of stats or memorable moments, it makes it tough for them to crack the top 50.
No. 51 John Tait – Offensive Lineman – 1996-1998
NFL drafts normally consist of quite a few quarterbacks, linebackers, defensive ends and receivers. Running backs, offensive linemen and safeties do get selected from time to time in the first round, but normally a player has to be the best of the best to be picked up early.
John Tait was the best of the best, getting picked 14th overall in the 1999 NFL draft. There have only been 11 first round picks in the NFL draft that were former Cougars and Tait was one of them.
While playing, Tait was known for being able to be a brick wall or a wall breaker. If he needed to protect his quarterback, he did that, giving up very few sacks. In fact, in the four games that I watched, I only saw one missed assignment by Tait that resulted in a running back getting tackled one yard behind the line of scrimmage.
Even more amazingly, he was a first round pick after his Junior season. After playing 38 games for BYU, starting every game as a player, he was already called the best “offensive tackle” in the nation, something difficult to be while in a pass first offense.
Although he was never an All-American or won a national award for his playing, to help the Cougars to the 14-1 season in 1996 and a combined 29-11 record overall, he earned himself the No. 51 spot on the Top 100 players of all time.
He was inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame in 2012.