PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – It was a play that went viral. Even Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes tweeted about it. BYU tight end Masen Wake catching a no-look shovel pass from Zach Wilson for a touchdown against Houston.
But it was what Wake did after his first career touchdown catch that was especially moving.
Wake unveiled a t-shirt displaying a message that read, “Rest in heaven, mom,” paying tribute to his mother Pam, who died of cancer when Masen was just eight years old.
“Everything I do is to make her more proud,” said Wake, a product of Lone Peak High School. “I know she’s proud of me. It just means the world to me. Every time I score a touchdown, I usually pound my chest and point to the sky. That’s for my mom. Everything I do is for my family. When I write it on my arm, a lot of people didn’t know about it. Everything I do is for her. She’s been out of my life for a while, but she’s definitely been inside with me. She’s made me who I am today.”
How good of a guy is Masen? When he was at Lone Peak in 2018, he cancelled a recruiting trip to take a Riverton High girl with cerebral palsy to the homecoming dance.
Wake knows all about overcoming hurdles, which perhaps is why he has become known for hurdling would-be tacklers four times this season. The 6-1, 250-pounder has shown he has a lot of athleticism.
“Growing up, I was kind of a bigger kid,” Wake said. “So, a lot of the second level guys would go at my ankles. They’d dive down and I’d try to run them over, and I just ended up just tackling myself. That’s what ends up happening. So over time, I’ve just learned to hurdle and just add another thing to my game. A lot of people think I just run over people, but I just keep adding things to my game, and hopefully I can add more.”
Wake made national highlight reels for his hurdles against Houston, UTSA Louisiana Tech and Navy, as #12 BYU has raced out to a 5-0 record.
One final hurdle may be coming soon as Wake hopes to shed his walk-on status and earn a scholarship at BYU.
“I hope so,” he said with a smile. “Got to talk to Kalani. I hope so though. It would help a lot.”
Wake and the Cougars will try to get to 6-0 this Friday night against Texas State. This will be the first time BYU has played in front of its home fans at LaVell Edwards Stadium, as some 6,000 fans will be allowed to watch the game in person.
“I feel like having the 6,000 people there is definitely going to help us a lot,” said defensive back Chris Wilcox. “I’m happy we’re able to have fans now. It’s better than having zero for sure.”
“I think it helps a lot,” added safety Zayne Anderson. “When you don’t have fans, you kind of have to create your own energy as a team and on the sideline. With fans, it brings a little more energy. I think it’s nice having our families there. As a senior, my family hasn’t been able to see me play yet this year.”
Even though the stadium seats about 64,000 fans, head coach Kalani Sitake expects there will be plenty of noise Saturday night.
“I think there’s a lot of men, women and children in that group of 6,000 that are going to make enough noise for the rest,” he said. “Because the others that can’t be in the stadium are going to count on them doing it. And if they don’t, then they’re going to hear about it from the others that aren’t allowed in the stadium. So, a lot of pressure on those guys.”
Kickoff against Texas State is set for 8:15 p.m. Saturday night.