Tyler Allgeier is finally catching up to Jamaal Williams. Not in yards, but in location.

Allgeier’s declaration for the NFL draft will put the two BYU greats on the same playing field at the same time.

Both running backs are products of their high school football programs in Fontana, California, separated by only a few years and 13 miles. Williams rushed for 2,390 yards and 35 touchdowns at Summit High. Allgeier ran for over 5,000 yards and 56 touchdowns at Kaiser, while also playing linebacker. 

While Williams was breaking Harvey Unga’s career rushing record at BYU in 2016, Allgeier was finishing up his junior season at Kaiser. What makes Allgeier’s story even more intriguing is just three years later, while Williams was finding his way in the NFL, Allgeier was starting at linebacker for the Cougars.

With a running back corps riddled with injuries, Allgeier was switched from defense to offense during the week of the 2019 Hawaii Bowl. He entered the game after Lopini Katoa went down with an injury. Allgeier rushed eight times for 77 yards.

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BYU’s Tyler Allgeier declares for NFL draft

A week after the game, while he considered leaving BYU because he was out of money, coach Kalani Sitake put Allgeier on scholarship and he has been BYU’s No. 1 running back ever since.

Allgeier turned the 2021 season into a record-breaker by rushing for more yards in one season than anyone in program history — a program that has been handing off the football to capable athletes since 1922.

His early departure will leave him 1,103 yards short of breaking William’s career rushing record (3,901), but his decision comes on the heels of a season that is second to none.

With a makeshift, injury-riddled offensive line, Allgeier rushed for 1,601 yards against arguably BYU’s toughest schedule, including a record seven Power Five defenses. His third touchdown run against UAB in the Independence Bowl, and his last at BYU, gave him 23 rushing touchdowns for the season — the most in the country.

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Along the way, he surpassed Luke Staley’s single-season rushing record that had stood since 2001 — the year after Allgeier was born.

Here’s how Allgeier’s season unfolded, game by game:

Arizona

The historic journey began on Sept. 4 in Las Vegas against Arizona. Allgeier rushed 17 times for 94 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown to beat the Wildcats 24-16. The sophomore left Allegiant Stadium needing 1,489 yards to pass Staley, an achievement no one was thinking about at the time. STALEY 1,582, ALLGEIER 94

Utah

During BYU’s home opener against No. 18 Utah, Allgeier rushed 27 times for 102 yards as the Cougars dominated the line of scrimmage. His signature moment came on BYU’s final possession.

BYU running back Tyler Allgeier takes handoff from quarterback Jaren Hall as BYU and Utah play at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
BYU running back Tyler Allgeier takes the handoff from Jaren Hall (3) during BYU’s 26-17 victory over Utah at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The Cougars faced third-and-one at the Utah 43-yard line when Allgeier bulldozed through the defense for nine yards to secure BYU’s 26-17 victory. STALEY 1,582, ALLGEIER 196

Arizona State

The following week, against No. 19 Arizona State, Allgeier rushed 21 times for 69 yards and a touchdown. However, he delivered the play of the game late in the third quarter by resorting to his linebacker skills.

The Sun Devils’ Merlin Robertson intercepted a Jaren Hall pass and thought he had a pick-six when Allgeier chased him down from behind and punched the ball out of his arms and BYU recovered. The play didn’t give him any more rushing yards, but it helped secure the 27-17 win. STALEY 1,582, ALLGEIER 265

South Florida

After three consecutive P5 opponents to start the season, BYU welcomed South Florida to Provo where Allgeier finished with 81 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns in the Cougars’ 35-27 victory. Even at this point, there was no consideration that Staley’s record was in jeopardy. STALEY 1,582, ALLGEIER 346

Utah State

October began on a Friday night in Logan. With Hall injured and Baylor Romney making his first start in two seasons, the pressure was on Allgeier to deliver — and he delivered.

Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier scores on Utah State Aggies in Logan on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.
BYU running back Tyler Allgeier scores on Utah State Aggies in Logan on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Allgeier rushed 22 times for 224 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 9.9 yards per carry.

The Aggies pulled within 27-20 in the fourth quarter. With Romney injured and freshman Jacob Conover at quarterback, the Cougars put the game in Allgeier’s hands.

He took the ball on the first play of the ensuing drive and rumbled 67 yards to the Utah State 2-yard line. Allgeier scored two plays later to put the game away 34-20. STALEY 1,582, ALLGEIER 564

Boise State

If there was a game Allgeier would like back, it was the rainy showdown against Boise State at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Allgeier rushed 18 times for 75 yards and a touchdown, but it was a first-half fumble, just the third of his career, that led to a Boise State touchdown and a lead the Broncos wouldn’t relinquish. STALEY 1,582, ALLGEIER 637

Baylor 

Still stinging from the 26-17 loss to Boise State, BYU ran into a brick wall at Baylor. Allgeier was held to 33 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown in a 38-24 defeat. STALEY 1,582 ALLGEIER 670

Washington State

A second straight road game against a P5 opponent brought the Cougars to Washington State, where Allgeier carried the ball a staggering 32 times for 191 yards and two touchdowns. He finished the final drive of the game with seven straight carries to run out the clock and preserve BYU’s 21-19 victory. STALEY 1,582, ALLGEIER 861

Virginia

More good news for Allgeier came the following week in the form of the Virginia defense. The Cavaliers and coach Bronco Mendenhall came to Provo with a 6-2 record and in the hunt for the ACC championship, but they were no match for Allgeier.

Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) jumps over Virginia Cavaliers free safety Joey Blount (29).
BYU running back Tyler Allgeier jumps over Virginia free safety Joey Blount during the Cougars’win at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Mendenhall, the former BYU head coach and longtime defensive guru could only stand and watch as Allgeier rushed for 266 yards and five touchdowns in a 66-49 victory. Suddenly, after picking up 457 yards in two games, Allgeier is very much in the race to break Staley’s record. STALEY 1,582, ALLGEIER 1,127

Idaho State

With momentum building, Idaho State seemed like the perfect opponent for Allgeier to pad some stats. However, after limping through the pregame senior sendoff ceremony, he rushed just six times for 35 yards and a touchdown and was done for the day by halftime. STALEY 1,582, ALLGEIER 1,162

Georgia Southern

The 9-2 Cougars marched their No. 14 national ranking into Georgia Southern where Allgeier paced the team with 136 rushing yards and a touchdown. He finished the final drive of the game with six carries as BYU ate up the remaining 7:45 on the clock to win 34-17. STALEY 1,582, ALLGEIER 1,298

USC

Some of the greatest running backs in the history of college football ran for their yards at USC in the famous Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Allgeier used the iconic landmark to rush for 111 yards and two touchdowns in BYU’s 35-31 victory. STALEY 1,582, ALLGEIER 1,409

UAB

Allgeier took the field at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana needing 174 yards to beat Staley’s record. UAB’s defense was ranked No. 12 in the country allowing just 104 yards per game.

Heavy rain in the first quarter frustrated the Cougars offense but second quarter runs of 35 and 18 yards by seemed to get things going before halftime.

BYU running back Tyler Allgeier breaks away for a big gain against UAB in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Allgeier opened the third quarter with a 62-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 21 and pull him within a few yards of Staley’s record.

On BYU’s next possession, facing third-and four, Allgeier ran for three yards and into history, passing Staley and standing alone as BYU’s all-time single season rushing leader. He finished the game with 193 yards and three touchdowns. ALLGEIER 1,601 STALEY 1,582

NFL-ready

Allgeier won the starting job after a loss at the 2019 Hawaii Bowl and he finished his career with a defeat at the 2021 Independence Bowl. But in between, he ran for a lot of yards (2,899), scored a lot of touchdowns (36) and carried BYU to a 22-4 record and restored the Cougars to permanent residency among the national polls.

When BYU opens the 2022 season at South Florida, Allgeier will be missing at running back. He will be tough to replace, maybe even impossible if the requirements still demand that his successor first be a walk-on linebacker.

His collegiate story is unlike any other. Now that he has declared for the NFL draft, the book on his professional career can start to be written and who knows, with a little luck from the schedule makers, both he and Williams, the two high school kids from Fontana and two record-holders at BYU, will finally meet as professional football players.

Sitake’s pitch to all his players is he will do whatever he can to prepare them for their shot to make the NFL.

In Allgeier’s case — job well done.

Dave McCann is a contributor to the Deseret News and is the studio host for “After Further Review,” co-host for “Countdown to Kickoff” and the “Postgame Show” and play-by-play announcer for BYUtv.