Christopher Brooks celebrates a play during his time at Cal. (AP Photo)

BYU football announces running back transfers from Cal, Stanford

BYU football announced the additions of two graduate transfer running backs on Wednesday: Christopher Brooks from the University of California and Houston Heimuli from Stanford. Brooks and Heimuli will help bolster BYU’s running back room going into the 2022 season.

For the past two seasons, BYU football has been able to almost exclusively rely on the legs of Tyler Allgeier at the running back position. With Allgeier declaring for the NFL draft, BYU entered the offseason with a question mark over the running back room for the first time in two years.

Allgeier rushed for 2,731 yards over the last two years and set the all-time single-season rushing record at BYU with his 1,601 yards this season. Allgeier also added 23 touchdowns in 2021, doing so against arguably the toughest schedule in BYU history.

He handled more than 77% of the carries made by a running back and accounted for more than 65% of BYU’s total rushing yards this past season.

Brooks was the Golden Bears’ leading rusher two out of the last three seasons. In Brooks’ four seasons at Cal he totaled 1,734 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns while adding four more receiving touchdowns. In 2021, Brooks was Cal’s leading rusher, totaling 607 yards and four touchdowns while also catching 19 passes for 131 yards and three touchdowns. 

Houston Heimuli, the son of all-time great BYU running back Lakei Heimuli, was a key contributing blocking fullback at Stanford from 2017-2021. Heimuli was named an All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season. He was also selected as a team captain for Stanford in 2021. 

Heimuli shared on Twitter his motivation to come to BYU for his last season is to follow in his father Lakei’s legendary footsteps. Lakei Heimuli ran for 2601 yards and 27 touchdowns during his 1983-1986 BYU career. He also helped BYU win a national championship in 1984.

The addition of Brooks and Heimuli this early in the offseason allows them to enroll in classes at BYU for this winter semester, which in turn allows them to participate in offseason workouts immediately. 

“We are excited to welcome Chris and Houston to our football family,” head coach Kalani Sitake said in a press release. “Chris is a talented tailback with a power-running style who has been a leading contributor on the field for Cal. As a former fullback, I have a huge appreciation for the consistent and important contributions Houston has made for his team over his career. Both Chris and Houston are also outstanding students, and we are pleased they have chosen BYU to continue to achieve their on-field and academic goals.”

Brooks announced on Twitter he would be joining the BYU football program, adding the caption, “Let’s ride.” 

BYU is hoping to ride the legs of Brooks and run behind the blocks of Heimuli. The Cougars will try to follow up back-to-back 10-win seasons with another successful campaign in their final year before entering the Big 12.

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