BYU Football Top 100: No. 23 - Austin Collie - The Man Still Open
We are only 23 days away from BYU Football starting up there season!
Yesterday, after practice QB Zach Wilson told the press that he loves to watch film. In fact, he said that oftentimes he invites his teammates, many of whom are married to watch with him, even if that includes bringing their wives.
I love to hear things like that. It sounds like Wilson is truly and fully giving 100% to the team and his own personal mental game. It will not be surprising at all if before the ball snaps against Utah if we see a small smile come across Zach's face as he knows exactly where a soft spot in the defense will be.
Watching film is perhaps the most underrated part about practice. We always see the hours put into weights, drills and route running, but rarely do we players watching old games to learn tendencies of both themselves and opposing teams.
Today's player in the countdown probably watched A TON of film to stay on top of his game, and by the way he is still open!
No. 23 Austin Collie - Wide Receiver - 2004, 2007-2008
BYU Football's top receiver in 2018 and 2017 was Matt Bushman with 511 and 520 yards respectively. If there were four other receivers with 450+ yards receiving that would be okay since it shows that the Cougars were sharing the ball. But when there isn't a single player in either season to reach that mark, that is concerning. Austin Collie did not have that issue, at all.
Collie only played for the Cougars for three seasons, one before his mission with John Beck and two with Max Hall who was No. 26 on the all-time list. Granted, when you've got those two QB's throwing to you, the odds of having some big games are pretty high.
Collie wasn't just good though, he was outstanding.
I may not be right on this, but I'm not sure that there has ever been a receiver for the Cougars that has started off so good and still improved as much as Austin Collie. In the very first game of Collies freshmen season, he had a 42 yard touchdown catch against Notre Dame. But it wasn't a fluke. He got better almost every single game for the rest of his career. From that point on, he was an impact player for the team. Because of how good he was, he drew the safeties and other DB's attention from other receivers like Todd Watkins, Dennis Pitta and Michael Reed who went on to have great games because they were in single coverage or even left alone at times. Also, we can't forget the game changing plays he had against Utah, Colorado State, Washington and UCLA. Three of those games are still brought up often today.
Austin Collie currently holds the BYU Football record for receiving yards in a season, touchdown catches in a season and receptions in a season. He also had 11 straight games with 100 or more receiving yards, plus an additional six games throughout the rest of his career. For his career he had 3,255 receiving yards, 30 touchdowns, and 15.1 yards per reception, a ridiculously high number for a receiver with as many touches as he had. Collie was also pretty good in the return game with an average of 26.1 yards per return on 49 opportunities. The only thing hurting Collie, which honestly doesn't even hurt him as much as other players is that he left a year early. Had he stayed, he would have set so many records that would be untouchable. Can't blame him though, he had a nice career with the Colts.
Memorable Moments B+
Collie never had the game winning touchdown catch as time expired. In fact, never had a game winning touchdown catch at all, unless you want to call a third quarter TD that ended up being the Cougars final points in a win against Notre Dame a game winning touchdown. Most of the game winning touchdowns went to Dennis Pitta or Harvey Unga.
That does not mean that Collie is not memorable though. The most memorable moment came on 4th and 18 against Utah when quite honestly there is no reason in the world why Collie should have been open. How do you do that!? No complaints here though... Aside from the famous 4th and 18, his pure statistics make him memorable. No receiver has ever done what Collie did individually in his junior season or during a three year span. His consistent 100 yard receiving games and 15.1 yards per reception are hard to forget which is why he is the 23rd greatest player to ever play for the Cougars.
Finally, he had so many awards including but not limited to:
2008 AP Second Team
2008 Rivals.com Second Team
2008 Sportsillustrated.com Second Team
2004 MWC Freshman of the Year
2008 All-MWC First Team
2008 Academic All-MWC
MWC Offensive Player of the week (9/17/07, 1013/17)
2008 Biletnikoff Award finalist
For some great highlights watch here.