Dylan Collie reignites family legacy with return to BYU
A Collie playing wide receiver at BYU is almost as familiar to Cougar fans as 16-inch-long doughnuts topped with maple frosting. While some may call the opportunity to play at BYU a family tradition, senior Dylan Collie prefers to use a word that carries a little more weight than tradition — for him, playing receiver at BYU is a legacy.
It all started when Dylan’s father Scott Collie joined the Cougars in 1979, playing receiver for BYU until 1982. He had no idea at the time that not only one, but all three of his boys would end up following his footsteps to be college football wide receivers.
“We told all the kids, ‘You’re going to do something,’” Scott said. “‘It could be debate, it could be music, it could be anything, but you’re going to do something.’ It just so happens that I wasn’t good with music or debate. Football I did know something about, and I think that is where they were able to fall into it a little bit easier.”
Dylan’s brothers, Zac and Austin, both saw success on the field for the Cougars. By Zac’s senior year in 2006 he had become a consistent contributor on offense, logging receptions in 20 of his last 23 games. Austin left for the NFL in 2008 as one of the most successful receivers in BYU history and still holds the single-season school receiving records for receptions (106), yards (1,538), touchdowns (15) and 100+ yard games (11).
In 2012, it was Dylan’s turn for his chance to contribute to the Collie legacy at BYU. However, after redshirting his freshman year with the Cougars and serving a church mission to Richmond, Virginia, Dylan decided to transfer to the University of Hawai’i. The move appeared to mark the end of the Collie pipeline of BYU receivers.
Dylan developed on and off the field during his three years playing for the Warriors. He led the team with 56 receptions in 2017 while also earning his bachelor’s degree in communications. Nevertheless, he felt there was untapped potential that couldn’t be reached in Honolulu and looked to switch schools as a graduate transfer.
His father wasn’t fond of the idea of transferring again.
“I wasn’t too sure if transferring would work out,” Scott said. “I told him, ‘I don’t know if another school will be interested in you. It is a huge investment to take a graduate transfer that can’t be at spring ball.’”
Scott didn’t feel comfortable with the idea until he and Dylan spoke with former Hawai’i wide receivers coach Kefense Hynson and determined transferring could be best for Dylan’s future. Soon after, now with the whole family on board, Dylan made his intention to transfer official.
“The transfer process was fun and stressful,” Dylan said. “My wife, Savannah, was right by me and so supportive. She was there to answer any questions, talk with coaches and drill coaches with questions. I’ve got a good group of people around me between Savannah, my siblings, and my parents, and I took advantage of relying on them for help.”
BYU, USC, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest were several of the schools that reached out to Dylan about joining their football programs. The Collie family continued to support Dylan and Savannah through the decision-making process while also respecting the young couple’s independence.
“I trust Dylan in following his own inspiration because that has worked so well for him in the past,” said Dylan’s mother, Nicole. “We didn’t try to push him either way. I left it up to him and Savannah. I trusted their decision as a couple. They spent a lot of time in the temple, on their knees praying and fasting.”
After visiting the potential schools, Dylan and Savannah ultimately decided to rejoin the Cougars in Provo.
“The coaching staff is probably the initial and largest reason why I came back to BYU,” Dylan said. “Coaches Fesi Sitake, Aaron Roderick and Jeff Grimes have so much experience at high levels of football and have high performance levels. A big reason I left Hawai’i was to maximize a certain potential I felt like I had. These are the coaches that I know can get me there through the work I put in myself and what they’re willing to teach.”
Wearing the No. 3 jersey in honor of his father, Dylan has reignited the Collie legacy at BYU once more with every intention of adding his own contribution to it. His overarching goal for his senior year is based on dependability rather than a numerical statistic.
“I want to be Mr. Reliable,” the senior receiver said. “I want to be a guy people can rely on. I want the coaches to be 110 percent comfortable with who they’re putting into the game and I know I have to be one of those guys.”
The moment Dylan stepped on campus, he immediately led the team in career receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns without even playing one snap for the Cougars.
“We brought him in with only one year left because we believe he can have an impact,” said BYU wide receivers coach Fesi Sitake. “He’s played against some of the biggest teams in the biggest stages and excelled. He’s a real refined receiver that understands the game, but he’s open, humble and admits there is still more for him to learn.”
Sitake instilled his expectation of hard work ethic amongst the receivers over the summer with the motto, “Do extra.” This was nothing new for Dylan having grown up with that mindset rooted in him.
“To me, extra is the minimum,” Dylan explained. “Being told is one thing, but in order to maximize who you are, you have to do extra on a daily basis, whether it be throwing, watching film, or learning the playbook.”
Current BYU linebacker Morgan Unga knows all about Dylan’s work ethic after serving a mission with him in Virginia. After redshirting their first years at BYU, the two friends received mission calls to the same place and went on to be companions in the Missionary Training Center as well as the last six months of their missions.
Noting Dylan’s constant devotion and effort as a missionary, Unga also experienced firsthand the receiver’s dedication to stay healthy and in shape.
“We’d wake up at 5 a.m. to go run, play basketball, throw the ball around or lift,” Unga remembered. “Dylan got me to go on a juice cleanse for a while. We were only allowed to drink four of these juice smoothies a day. Dylan was pretty set on staying to it and wanted me to reap the benefits of it too.”
Student of the Game
Becoming a master of the game is more than refining the physical aspects for Dylan. He takes every opportunity to study and absorb any bit of football knowledge he can from those around him. His incentive? To improve as a player and later chase his dream to be a college head football coach.
He’s had no shortage of mentors between BYU and Hawai’i. Dylan has played for four different head coaches as well as over a half dozen coordinators and position coaches. However, it is no surprise that the consistent teachers over the years have been his father and two brothers.
“He has had the advantage of getting it from three of us,” Scott said. “He’s been able to draw on the experiences that Zac, Austin and I have had. Austin has been a significant influence as Dylan studies the sport and has learned the value of that. Zac and Dylan have some of the same physical limitations where they’re a little bit shorter so they’ve got to be far more technical.”
Sitting on the couch in Austin’s basement with doughnuts and Coke within arm’s reach, Dylan and Austin spent hours this past summer studying football film. With stacks of CDs towered around them, the two spent time dissecting plays and discussing assignments.
“That is something we do out of genuine fun,” Dylan said. “We enjoy sitting there watching it, breaking it down and looking at it in different ways. The chance that we really have to do that helps me so much because I am able to see a full field.”
Complementing Austin’s film sessions, Zac’s influence on his youngest brother isn’t based on Xs and Os.
“What matters most to him is that I am taking care of my body to the best of my ability,” Dylan said. “Second to that is his mental take on things. Our conversations are more about where my attitude is on the field and where I am mentally instead of just assignments. He’s helped me see that being cool, calm and collected is the way to go.”
While he learns and seeks advice from his pass-catching family members, Dylan doesn’t attempt to be just like them on the field. Instead, he applies what he can to his own game and focuses more on being himself and doing what he can to help his team.
“Dylan definitely has a focus and maybe a bigger chip at times compared to his older brothers,” his father said. “He is going to prove to everyone that he’s his own person and he’s going to benefit from his brothers, but he was not going to ride their coattails.”
Don’t be fooled by the family legacy. Dylan’s out to prove his last name is not the reason he’s at BYU.
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