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BYU walk-on Tyler Allgeier providing depth to running back group

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BYU running back Tyler Allgeier runs against Mexico State in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018.

BYU running back Tyler Allgeier runs against Mexico State in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

PROVO — One of the standouts of BYU's open practice and 85-play scrimmage last Saturday was redshirt freshman running back Tyler Allgeier.

“I thought Tyler Allgeier did a great job,” said coach Kalani Sitake.

Allgeier showed good patience and vision as he gained 53 yards on seven carries and scored two touchdowns.

The 5-foot-11, 220-pound walk-on could make a significant impact on the Cougar ground game this fall.

His performance Saturday also showed how he’s improved from his most recent game — in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl last December.

In that game, BYU was driving in the first half when quarterback Zach Wilson handed the ball to Allgeier, who tried unsuccessfully to pitch the ball to Dax Milne, resulting in a fumble and a turnover. At the time, the Cougars led 7-0, but Western Michigan tied the game several plays later.

Of course, BYU ended up crushing the Broncos, 49-18, but for Allgeier, that disastrous play served as a valuable learning experience.

“I messed up one play — the reverse pass,” Allgeier recalled. “I should have kept it but I ended up trying to get it off. That freshman mistake taught me that you have to know your stuff to be successful on the field. I won’t let it happen again.”

Allgeier, who played in just four games last season and will be a redshirt freshman in 2019, was one of many young players who benefited from the bowl practices in December.

“I got reps in the practices for the bowl game because everyone was injured,” he said. “I was at the bottom and made my way up to the top. I’ve learned a lot. The bowl game really helped me develop as a player going into spring ball.”

Last fall, Allgeier had nine carries for 49 yards, with 44 of those coming on a run against New Mexico State.

Allgeier hails from Fontana, California — the same hometown of BYU’s all-time leading rusher, Jamaal Williams. Despite that connection with Williams, Allgeier said he’s never met Williams and has never seen him play.

While Williams attended Summit High in Fontana, Allgeier ran 231 times for 2,470 yards and 29 touchdowns at Kaiser High.

What attracted Allgeier to BYU?

“It was my best offer. I like the atmosphere and I like the city,” Allgeier said. “It’s getting out of my hometown and trying to do my own thing, especially as a walk-on. It’s motivation for me to get a scholarship. I didn’t know much about BYU before I came here. School’s hard. It’s doable if you put in the time and effort, especially if you’re doing the thing you love, which is football. That’s the purpose.”

Allgeier's favorite running backs to watch are Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson. He's trying to pattern his style after theirs.

“I’m a power back,” Allgeier said. “If there’s an open lane, I’ll go for it. I’m getting shiftier. I need to work on my blocking a little bit but once I get that down, I should be good.”

At the running back position, BYU is looking for depth and production this fall after losing Squally Canada and Matt Hadley to graduation and Riley Burt to a transfer.

There’s plenty of competition going on this spring at running back among Allgeier, Lopini Katoa, who had 76 carries for 423 yards and eight touchdowns last season; Sione Finau, who had three carries for 20 yards last Saturday; Kavika Fonua, who is returning from an injury; and walk-on Morgan Pyper.

The Cougars could add another running back during the offseason. Ty’Son Williams, a graduate transfer from South Carolina, has visited Provo and is considering BYU as one of his potential destinations.

Meanwhile, former Lone Peak High star Jackson McChesney is returning home from a mission and is expected to join the Cougars before fall camp opens.

While BYU fans may be concerned about the running game next season, Allgeier is optimistic.

“We’re pretty confident. We’re getting more guys in the fall," he said. "Once we get more depth, we’ll be good.”