PROVO — Just like that, BYU’s running back position bolstered its experience and depth.
Ty’Son Williams, a graduate transfer from South Carolina, announced via social media Sunday that he is joining the Cougars for the 2019 season. He will be immediately eligible and will have one season remaining to play.
“I want to thank all the coaches and programs who reached out to give me an opportunity to continue my education for my last year,” Williams wrote. “With that being said I will continue my last year of eligibility at Brigham Young University.”
The 6-foot, 219-pound tailback from Sumter, South Carolina, started his career at North Carolina in 2015 before transferring to South Carolina.
Williams was the Gamecocks’ second-leading rusher in 2017 with 471 yards. Last season, he played in only eight games due to a hand injury. Williams finished the campaign with 328 yards and a team-high four rushing touchdowns.
Earlier this month running back Emmanuel Esukpa, a graduate transfer, announced he will arrive at BYU after playing at Rice.
In 29 games at Rice, Esukpa rushed 196 times for 778 yards and six touchdowns. In high school, Esukpa was a two-sport athlete and he recorded a 10.8 split in the 4x100-meter relay.
BYU's running back position has been under scrutiny for the past couple of seasons due to injuries and a lack of consistent production. The Cougars have suffered attrition at that spot as Squally Canada and Matt Hadley have graduated while Riley Burt transferred.
With the addition of Williams and Esukpa, the Cougar coaching staff has addressed that need. They join a BYU running back group that includes Lopini Katoa, Tyler Allgeier, Kavika Fonua and Sione Finau.
During spring practices, Cougar running backs coach AJ Steward was asked if he envisions one player emerging as a featured back or if the running back duties will be handled by committee.
“It’s still kind of early for that. Some of them are still learning the system and understanding how to play Division I running back, getting rid of bad habits that they were able to get away with at the high school level,” Steward said. “It’s not a fair decision to make right now. A couple of weeks through fall camp, we’ll have a good idea of what type of group we have and how we want to cater our offense around the running back group.”