BYU running back Tyler Allgeier breaks through the Utah State defense in the Cougars' 34-20 win over the Aggies in Logan on Friday, Oct. 1. (BYU Photo)

Tyler Allgeier is cementing his place among BYU’s greatest ball carriers

Luke Staley. Curtis Brown. Harvey Unga. Jamaal Williams.

Pencil in Tyler Allgeier next.

In just two years, the sophomore running back has gone from a walk-on making ends meet at Walmart to one of BYU’s all-time best at making defenders miss and reaching the end zone.

“His development as a running back has changed,” former BYU running back Curtis Brown said. “The way he carried the ball two years ago, compared to how he’s carrying the ball now, there’s a huge transformation taken place.”

Brown knows a thing or two about slicing through defenses. He starred for the Cougars from 2002-2006 and set the program’s career rushing yardage record as a senior.

While he follows the Cougars from a distance, Brown has seen Allgeier develop the attributes of truly great ball carriers. “To see the body control he maintains, to see his physicality, along with his quick feet and agility and cutting ability, to me, that’s what I’ve been impressed with the most.”

Brown recognizes that Allgeier’s development is linked to experience and great coaching. Who better to coach Allgeier than the man who broke Brown’s rushing record?

BYU running backs coach Harvey Unga rumbled across the Mountain West Conference with the Cougars from 2006-2009. Unga is now living his dream as he coaches BYU’s running backs and watches Allgeier follow in his footsteps.

“The most fun part of the entire ride and profession, for me, is seeing the growth of all this happen,” Unga said. “You hope to coach a young guy who has aspirations to be one of the best players in their position, and to me, I see Ty as one of those guys.”

BYU running back Harvey Unga finds an opening in the Utah State defense during the Cougars’ 35-17 win over the Aggies at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Friday, Oct. 2, 2009. (BYU Photo)

Allgeier stormed through Group of Five defenses in BYU’s pandemic-blasted 2020 schedule, but would he find the same success against a Power Five-laden 2021 slate?

Let’s look at the results thus far.

Allgeier has carried the ball 203 times for 1,167 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2021. That’s an average of 5.7 yards per carry. Kenneth Walker III of Michigan State and Rasheen Ali of Marshall are tied with Allgeier for the national lead in rushing touchdowns. Allgeier ranks No. 7 nationally in rushing yards and eleventh in carries.

In fact, Allgeier passed his 2020 season total weeks ago with 266 yards in BYU’s 66-49 win over Virginia: the third-best rushing performance in Cougar football history.

The Fontana, California native isn’t just making an impression on the national statistical standings; he’s climbing the BYU rushing records as well.

Tyler Allgeier continues to climb up the all-time BYU rushing records.
Tyler Allgeier continues to climb up the all-time BYU rushing records. (Graphic by Joseph Hovey)

With 29 yards at Georgia Southern on Saturday, Allgeier can surpass Luke Staley, BYU’s lone Doak Walker Award winner, for No. 8 in career rush yards at BYU.

The Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s best running back each year, named Allgeier one of 10 semifinalists on Wednesday.

With 67 yards against the Georgia Southern Eagles this week, Allgeier can move into No. 6 at BYU in single-season rushing total, surpassing marks set by Unga in 2007 and Jamaal Williams in 2013. Allgeier is 415 yards shy of exceeding Staley’s incredible 2001 total of 1,582 yards.

Given 50 carries over the final three games, Allgeier could surpass Ronney Jenkins’ 1998 record for single-season rushes. The Kaiser High School product already leads BYU in all-time yards per carry with 6.5.

All this talk of statistics, standings and records is just background noise for Allgeier.

“A lot of people are making a big deal about it, but I’m just trying to focus on the season and all that,” Allgeier said. “All the credit goes to my offensive line. They make me look good.”

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