With Tyler Allgeier having declared for the NFL draft, BYU was in need of adding some depth and experience to its running backs group.
Enter two former Pac-12 players — Christopher Brooks and Houston Heimuli — via the transfer portal.
Brooks, a grad transfer who’s played running back at California since 2018, announced Wednesday morning he’s joining the BYU program.
Shortly thereafter, BYU announced his transfer and added that Heimuli, whose father Lakei played running back at BYU in the mid-1980s, is also joining the Cougar program after playing fullback for five seasons at Stanford.
“We are excited to welcome Chris and Houston to our football family,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said in a statement. “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 entered the NCAA transfer portal in December and originally committed to Purdue before backing out of that commitment.
The 6-foot-1, 235-pound back from Oceanside, California, was the Golden Bears’ leading rusher in both 2019 and 2021, and is coming off a season when he rushed for 607 yards and four touchdowns, with a career-best 5.2 yards-per-carry average.
Brooks, who will be a senior in 2022, ran for 1,734 yards and 14 touchdowns during his time at Cal while also putting up 345 yards receiving with seven more scores.
His best season came in 2019, when he ran for 914 yards and eight touchdowns and also had 166 receiving yards with four touchdowns.
Heimuli, who prepped at Bountiful High and will have one season of eligibility, signed with Stanford in 2015 before serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He played in 42 games as a blocking back for Stanford over the past four seasons, after redshirting in 2017. The 5-foot-11, 265-pound Heimuli served as a team captain for the Cardinal this past season and earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors in 2020.
He finished with seven receptions for 25 yards and a touchdown at Stanford.
Brooks and Heimuli join a BYU running backs group in 2022 that will include, among others, Lopini Katoa, Jackson McChesney, Miles Davis and Hinckley Ropati.
Katoa, a returning senior, has rushed for 1,467 yards and 19 touchdowns during his time at BYU. That included 242 yards and two scores this past season as Allgeier’s primary backup, when Allgeier broke the school’s single-season rushing record (with 1,601 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns).