BYU running back Tyler Allgeier has gone from pushing shopping carts in the parking lot at a nearby Walmart for extra cash to pushing everything from lip balm, protein bars and chicken wings throughout Utah for substantially more scratch.
Welcome to the world of NIL — name, image and likeness — for high-profile college athletes such as Allgeier, who has somewhat surprisingly emerged as one of the most sought-after players on the Cougars’ 2-0 football team for endorsement deals.
“It is cool,” Allgeier told the Deseret News last week, “but I am not really trippin’ over it.”
Allgeier and teammate Gunner Romney, one of BYU’s top receivers, recently signed on to be ambassadors for YOKE Gaming and the app’s partnership with It’s Just Wings, a brand that operates out of Chili’s restaurants.
According to a news release, the 125 ambassadors — who are top college football players from across the country — “will be outfitted with It’s Just Wings attire and will leverage their social media and on-campus presence to promote the brand and share exclusive offers with fellow students.”
The deal for Romney and Allgeier was brokered through OhanaX, the agency established by Utah Valley businessmen Carl Sokia and Brandon Doyle that represents almost every player in BYU’s program.
Allgeier is also part of the teamwide deal with Built Bar announced last month and has a separate deal to endorse the Idaho-based lip balm company Balmshot that also includes BYU teammates Tyler Batty and Austin Riggs.
“My guy Carl (Sokia) just hit me up about YOKE and told me they were asking about me and if I wanted to be a part of it,” Allgeier said. “I was stoked to be a part of it.”
Allgeier isn’t disclosing what kind of money he will make from Balmshot or YOKE, but said “it should be really good for me, financially. They are giving us free merch, and we get some money on the side. Then we get free wings, which honestly is awesome because I am a big fan of wings.”
It beats being a parking lot attendant at the Orem Neighborhood Walmart, which is what Allgeier had to do when he first arrived at BYU as a walk-on in 2018 because he didn’t get put on scholarship until January 2020.
“So low-key, it was like a no-brainer for me,” he said. “It is a good deal.”
Allgeier says he has received “nothing but love” from teammates as the endorsement deals comes in. There was some concern when the NCAA passed NIL rules in July that jealousy and animosity would creep in locker rooms throughout the country as some athletes raised their profiles and bank accounts while others got little or nothing.
“That’s been a blessing,” Allgeier said. “I just literally keep my head down and keep working, and (teammates) see that. I stay humble. I am grateful for all the opportunities that I have gotten, and I am just trying to make the most of it. I think (others) can appreciate that.”
Bailey O’Sulllivan, an Auburn graduate who co-founded YOKE with some high school and college friends, said the company that provides technology that allows athletes to engage with brands and fans through a gaming app “wanted to make sure we have the most influential college athletes in the area” and focused on Romney and Allgeier after watching them shine in 2020 when they were teaming with Zach Wilson to lead the Cougars to an 11-1 season.
YOKE is also trying to sign some University of Utah players as well, O’Sullivan said.
“I watched BYU all last season,” O’Sullivan said. “I was a super fan — not by any actual relationships with the team. I watched the Navy game in Week 1 and I had seen Zach Wilson play before. I knew they were going to be an incredible team. I became a massive advocate for them. I knew Tyler was good, knew Gunner was good. So we picked those two guys to work with.”
Allgeier is off to a fantastic start, while Romney was slowed by a knee injury he suffered against Arizona State but still caught a TD pass in the win over Utah.
After finding the end zone vs. the Wildcats, Allgeier didn’t score against the Utes but still had a whopping 27 carries for 102 yards, with a long of 15.
He acknowledged that this quite likely will be his final season in Provo, as his lifelong goal has always been to play professional football and if that opportunity knocks, he will jump on it.
“You gotta strike when you’re hot,” he said.
That not only applies to football, but it also counts in this new world of endorsements.
“Opportunity is everything,” Allgeier concluded.