Running back Micah Bernard had a solid year for the Utah football team last season, providing valuable touches both in the run and pass games.

While he finds himself sharing a position with guys like returning rushing leader Tavion Thomas and talented freshman Jaylon Glover — CBS Sports recently ranked the Utes’ running back room the fourth-best in the country — Bernard has proven himself up to the task of performing when called upon. 

It’s Bernard’s versatility that helped him land on Bleacher Report’s list of college football’s most exciting players of the 2022 season released earlier this week.

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Bernard was one of six running backs on David Kenyon’s seven-man list, with the only other spot going to a quarterback.

“So far, Micah Bernard’s appeal has been in efficiency,” Kenyon wrote of the 6-foot, 192-pound sophomore back.

“After contributing on special teams for two years, he served as Utah’s third-string back in 2021. He rushed for 529 yards on 6.1 per attempt while handling 87 carries to Tavion Thomas’ 204 and TJ Pledger’s 104. Bernard added 26 receptions for 251 yards and totaled four touchdowns.”

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When the Utes were shorthanded at cornerback for the Rose Bowl, Bernard stepped in and played both ways during the game.

While Bernard and the Utah secondary struggled to stop the Ohio State passing game in the bowl matchup, he had one of the signature moments of the game when Bernard stretched out for a diving touchdown catch in the first quarter. 

Going forward, Bernard is expected to be a consistent contributor for the Utah offense.

“This season, he should have a larger role after Pledger headed to the NFL. The increased volume may give Bernard a chance to have a true breakout year — perhaps even doubling his numbers,” Kenyon wrote.

“And still, that would be as a backup. He’s an immensely valuable piece for the Utes.”