Special Returners

Oct 20, 2011 - Posted by Kenny Cox on October 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Updated: October 20, 2011 1:04 pm

Being a kick returner is not for the fearful. Catching a sky-high kick at the same time 11 speeding opponents are racing directly to hit you as hard as they possibly can is something only few are successful at. There will be at least two great BYU kick returners in LaVell Edwards Stadium, one past and one present.

Mike Rigell played for for the Cougars from 1998, 00-01 and is currently the all-time leader at BYU in kick return yards (1,625), tops in single-season kickoff return yards (865), second in career kick returns (65) and second in single-season kickoff returns (33). Rigell will be returning once again, but this time to the sidelines at LaVell Edwards Stadium as the current running backs coach for the Idaho State Bengals. The Tacoma, Wash. product has been mentioned among Cougar fans lately not only for his return to Provo, but because current kick returner Cody Hoffman recently equaled one of Rigell's best accomplishments on the football field.

Hoffman returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown against UCF earlier this season and was the first to return a kickoff for a score since Rigell did it his freshman season in 1998. While visiting Hawaii in 1998, Rigell took the opening kick of the second half 96 yards to the house in route to a 31-9 BYU victory. Cougar fans waited 13 years and 160 games to see Hoffman do it again.

Rigell and Hoffman are very different type of players, at least in body type and style. At around 5-foot-7 and 184 pounds, Rigell's style was more of compact running, quickness and making people miss. Hoffman on the other hand towers over Rigell at 6-foot-4, 208 pounds and relies on his straight-line speed and physicality to pick up yards.

They both have the fearless mindset to return kicks that only few possess. While Rigell currently sits as the leader or in the top 10 of several kickoff return lists, he might just have to pass the torch to Hoffman eventually, who is averaging nearly 71 kickoff return yards per game in 2011. Take a look at some of the records that Hoffman, just a sophomore, could take hold of before he is done in Cougar uniform.

Career Kickoff Return Yards
1. 1,625 Mike Rigell (1998, 00-01)
2. 1,611 O'Neill Chambers (2008-10)
3. 1,391 Chris Farasopoulos (1968-70)
4. 1,277 Austin Collie (2004, 07-08)
5. 1,051 Eric Mortensen (1988-91)
6. 992 Jaron Dabney (1997, 99)
7. 973 Vai Sikahema (1980-81, 84-85)
8. 945 Mike O'Brien (1986-88)
9. 865 Homer Jones (1979-80)
10. 835 Cody Hoffman (2010-present)
Single Season Kickoff Return Yards
1. 865 Mike Rigell (2001)
2. 809 O'Neill Chambers (2008)
3. 723 Austin Collie (2007)
4. 659 Chris Farasopoulos (1969)
5. 638 Jaron Dabney (1997)
6. 617 Mike Rigell (1998)
7. 579 Homer Jones (1979)
8. 548 Chris Farasopoulos (1969)
9. 544 Dave Lowry (1976)
10. 507 John Betham (1974)
11. 495 Cody Hoffman (2011)

Career Kickoff Return Averages (min. 30 returns)

1. 27.27 Chris Farasopoulos (1968-70)
2. 26.09 Cody Hoffman (2010-present)
3. 26.06 Austin Collie (2004, 07-08)
4. 24.71 Homer Jones (1979-80)
5. 24.21 John Betham (1972-74)
6. 24.20 Jaron Dabney (1997, 99)
7. 23.77 Mike Rigell (1998, 00-01)
8. 23.55 O'Neill Chambers (2008-10)
9. 23.17 Vai Sikahema (1980-81, 84-85)
10. 22.50 Mike O'Brien (1986-88)
Career Kick Returns
1. 69 O'Neill Chambers (2008-10)
2. 65 Mike Rigell (1998, 00-01)
3. 51 Chris Farasopoulos (1968-70)
4. 49 Austin Collie (2004, 07-08)
  49 Eric Mortensen (1988-91)
6. 42 Mike O'Brien (1986-88)
  42 Vai Sikahema (1980-81, 84-85)
8. 41 Jaron Dabney (1997, 99)
9. 37 Bryce Mahuika (2004-08)
10. 35 Homer Jones (1979-80)
  35 Kent Oborn (1964-66)
11. 34 Cody Hoffman (2010-Present)
Single Season Kickoff Returns
1. 35 O'Neill Chambers (2008)
2. 33 Mike Rigell (2001)
3. 30 John Betham (1974)
4. 28 Austin Collie (2007)
5. 26 Jaron Dabney (1997)
  26 Dave Lowry (1976)
  26 Chris Farasopoulos (1970)
8. 23 Mike Rigell (1998)
  23 Golden Richards (1971)
10. 22 Mike O'Brien (1987)
  22 Homer Jones (1979)
11. 21 Bryce Mahuika (2004)
12. 20 Cody Hoffman (2011)