BYU football dream offense




Bart Oates (1980-82)

Oates snapped the ball to both Jim McMahon and Steve Young at BYU before going on to a long and successful NFL career, which included a Super Bowl win and three Pro Bowl appearances.

Backup: Trevor Matich

Honorable mention: Sete Aulai, Scott Jackson, Larry Moore, Garry Pay, Lance Reynolds, Jr., Jason Scukanec, Robert Stephens



Mo Elewonibi (1988-89), Evan Pilgrim (1991-94)

Elewonibi earned the Outland Trophy as a senior, when he graded out four times with perfect pass protection. Pilgrim was a three-year starter.

Backups: Craig Garrick,Robert Anae

Honorable mention: JohnBorgia, Calvin Close, Lloyd Eldredge, Ray Feinga, Tim Hanshaw, Matt Johnson, Bryan May, Dallas Reyolds, Teag Whiting, Joe Wong, Scott Young



Nick Eyre (1976, 1979-80), John Tait (1996-98)

Eyre, nicknamed “The Bear,” was BYU’s first consensus All-America lineman. Tait anchored the Cougar O-line in 1996 and was a first-round draft pick.

Backups: Dave Wright, John Hunter

Honorable mention: Jason Andersen, Eric Bateman, Scott Brumfield, Rex Burningham, Mike Empey, Wayne Faalafua, Neal Fort, Eli Herring, Eddie Keele, Mike Keim, Jake Kuresa, Matt Reynolds, Dustin Rykert, Vince Stroth

Tight end

Gordon Hudson (1981-83)

Hudson set new standards at this position. Not only was he a two-time All-America, but he set four NCAA records for tight ends: most yards in a game (259), most yards in a career (2,484), most catches per game for a career (5.39).

Backups: Chad Lewis, Dennis Pitta, Clay Brown

Honorable mention: Jonny Harline, Doug Jolley, Itula Mili, David Mills, Trevor Molini, Gabe Reid, Byron Rex, Chris Smith


Wide receivers

Austin Collie (2004, 2007-08), Cody Hoffman (2010-2013)

Collie starred for the Cougars as a true freshman, then had two more amazing seasons before leaving early for the NFL draft. He caught a school-record 106 passes for 1,538 yards in 2008.

In 2013, Hoffman broke all of BYU’s career receiving records previously belonging to Collie and Dennis Pitta.

Backups: Glen Kozlowski, Eric Drage, Mark Bellini, Margin Hooks

Honorable mention: Tyler Anderson, Andy Boyce, Matt Braga, Ben Cahoon, Chuck Cutler, Lloyd Jones, K.O. Kealaluhi, Reno Mahe, Dan Plater, Todd Watkins


Running backs

Luke Staley (1999-2001), Harvey Unga (2006-2009)

When healthy, Staley and his massive calves ran over and through many opposing defenses. In just three injury-abbreviated seasons, BYU’s Mr. Touchdown set many school records and earned the school’s only Doak Walker Award, emblematic of the nation’s top running back. Unga is BYU’s all-time leading rusher (3,355 yards), though Jamaal Williams is on track to pass him sometime next year.

Backups: Jamal Willis, Lakei Heimuli, Ronney Jenkins, Jamaal Williams, Curtis Brown

Honorable mention: Matt Bellini, Kalin Hall, Waymon Hamilton, Hema Heimuli, Homer Jones, Eric Lane, Brian McDonald, Brian McKenzie, Robert Parker, Scott Phillips, Kelly Smith, Eddie Stinnett, Casey Tiumalu, Peter Tuipulotu, Marcus Whalen



Jim McMahon (1977-78, 1980-81)

Of all of the aforementioned selections, this is the one that will be the most scrutinized, and for good reason. BYU boasts a Heisman Trophy winner, and multiple Sammy Baugh and Davey O’Brien Award winners. Cougar quarterbacks own numerous NCAA passing records and one led his team to a national championship. The pick is McMahon because he no QB had a better winning percentage (25-3 as a starter). He was a two-time All-America, won a pair of conference championships and was the highest NFL draft pick in school history (No. 5 overall) and guided the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl victory.

Backups: Steve Young, Ty Detmer, Robbie Bosco

Honorable mention: John Beck, Max Hall, Brandon Doman, Steve Sarkisian, John Walsh


1922-1979 BYU Dream Team

Quarterback — Gifford Nielson, Marc Wilson, Gary Sheide, Virgil Carter

Tailback — Eldon Fortie, Pete VanValkenburg, Dick Felt, Jeff Blanc, Weldon Jackson

Fullback — Todd Christensen, John Ogden, Bill Ring

Wide receivers — Phil Odle, Jay Miller, Mike Chronister, Golden Richards

Tight end — Marion Probert, Brian Billick, Tod Thompson

Offensive linemen — Paul Howard, Gordon Gravelle, Keith Uperesa, Lance Reynolds, Sr., Mel Olson, Lloyd Fairbanks, Al Gaspard, Tom Bell, Scott Nielson, Brad Oates

Defensive lineman — Paul Linford, Mat Mendenhall, Wayne Baker, Mekeli Ieremia, Keith Rivera, Ross Varner

Linebackers — Craig Bozich, Ron Tree, Larry Carr, Sid Smith, Rod Wood, Curg Belcher

Defensive backs — Dan Hansen, Chris Farasopoulos, Dave Atkinson, Jason Coloma

Punter — Rich Adams

Placekicker — Joe Liljenquist

Kick returns specialists — Golden Richards, Chris Farasopoulos, Paul Allen


Jeff Call has covered BYU sports since 1993, including the past 16 years for the Deseret News. He, his wife and six sons live in Cedar Hills.


  1. AvatarChris Fuller Reply

    Agree completely on Jim McMahon as top QB. Best college QB I have ever seen play the game. The first outstanding BYU QB I saw while a student was Gary Sheide, and I have watched them all since. McMahon was the best. Detmer second. But any one of the top 7 or 8 with the defense of the past two years would likely have led either team to an undefeated season, or at worse, a one-loss year. Rare and amazing players, all of them. We were truly spoiled to have them at the Y. I dream of seeing another one in that category again, but maybe they were so rare we will never see their likes again.

  2. AvatarJosh Crowley Reply

    I didn’t get to watch McMahon play, (though I have seen the Hail Mary Bowl, of course) but I gotta say that it’s hard for me to put anyone in front of Ty or Max–can you imagine what Ty Detmer would do throwing the ball to Austin Collie and Cody Hoffman?! Don’t get me wrong, I’d put Jim McMahon on the field any day, I just think that Ty was a pretty incredible offensive mastermind. And Max won more games as a cougar than anyone else–hard to argue with that. I love the rest of the team, though.

    1. AvatarJohn Melvin Dodd Reply

      Josh Crowley, I agree with everything you say about Detmer, Collie, and Hoffman. But I can tell you didn’t see McMahon play. Steve Young was fantastic also, but it would be hard to beat Jim McMahon as a college quarterback.

  3. AvatarPaul Bowler Reply

    I have to take exception with the list of QB’s on this all time list. I am rather disappointed that Marc Wilson is not included. He certainly should and must rank higher that Doman, Walsh, Beck and even Sarkisian. The numbers he put up while a Cougar justify him being on this exclusive list. I have seen all the BYU QB’s since the Gifford Nielson days and Marc is very deserving.

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