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BYU’s Tyler Allgeier is measuring up nicely as an every-down back

After stellar high school career — and a stint at linebacker — BYU running back is proof that measurables matter

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Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) caries the ball into the end zone for a touchdown, but the play was then called back due to a holding foul, during an NCAA football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020.

Yukai Peng, Deseret News

Tyler Allgeier has a very unique claim as a major college football player.

In the course of one year against nationally ranked Boise State, Allgeier was the leading tackler for BYU as a linebacker, then the leading rusher when he faced the Broncos again.

That’s just bonkers.

In Boise, Allgeier stunned the Broncos defense on BYU’s first possession of the game when he ripped off an 86-yard touchdown run, one of the longest in school history.

In this sense, he’s battling QBs Zach Wilson and Baylor Romney for a foothold on who does Boise State fear most in a two-game losing streak to the Cougars. Allgeier has morphed into Bronco Bunko.

That’s the kind of athlete Allgeier is. And he represents a model of the recruiting by BYU head coach Kalani Sitake under the focus of assistant head coach Ed Lamb. It’s a theory that a school like BYU might not sign four- or five-star recruits, but it can take measurables of athletes, put them in a developmental gauntlet, then reap the rewards in time.

At a stout 5-foot-11 and 220 pounds, Allgeier leads the Cougars in rushing with 105 carries for 729 yards and nine touchdowns. He is averaging 6.8 yards per carry in an explosive offense that has carried the Cougars to an 8-0 record and a No. 8 ranking by The Associated Press.

Allgeier was a walk-on recruit, discovered and invited to BYU by Lamb and defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki. Allgeier is a Bavarian name with roots in old German. The name means field or pasture. Maybe it’s just his nature to excel on green turf. He is the all-time leading rusher at Kaiser High in Fontana, California, with 2,470 yards on 231 carries his senior season. He scored 29 touchdowns there.

Allgeier has shown outstanding speed, great acceleration and anticipation. He sees blocks and spaces and is a powerful runner who is just scratching the surface under running backs coach Harvey Unga.

Lamb is known for developing raw talent and Sitake has a proven track record of fitting athletes into roles where they can excel, often having them change positions, like Cleveland Brown linebacker Sione Takitaki and Harvey Langi and Corbin Kaufusi with the New York Jets.

Senior cornerback Chris Wilcox, BYU’s top cover man, was one of Lamb’s developmental athletes, also out of Southern California.

Former BYU star running back Jamal Willis, who operates Cutback Elite football camps, learned of Allgeier coming to BYU more than two years ago. That’s when he began working with him in the offseasons along with Allgeier’s current teammate Lopini Katoa.

Asked to break down Allgeier, Willis confirmed his development came from a promising athlete with measurables that needed to be tweaked and honed.

“He was very raw,” said Willis. “I think he was a good athlete, but very raw at that position. I could tell he had a lot of potential and I think the great thing that I see right now is that he has developed into that type of every-down back.”

Willis added that Allgeier is obviously a very physical runner. 

“One thing that I see that catches my eye is that he is very physical, but what people don’t really see a lot of is that he is really shifty. Being that big and physical, you usually have one or the other but not both. You have a big back that just loves to pound it. And then you have a kind of shifty back that just loves to make guys miss. The great thing about Tyler is he has all of that. He has the physical capability and breakaway speed and he’s shifty.”

Willis, who helped lead BYU to a win over Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, in the early ’90s, played professionally with the San Francisco 49ers. He is the No. 4 career rusher at BYU, having netted 2,970 yards and 35 touchdowns for the Cougars from 1991 through 1994. Only current Green Bay Packer Jamaal Williams, Unga and Curtis Brown had better rushing careers for BYU.

“I’ve seen this kid develop in a pretty fast way to be just that every-down, do-everything- type of running back,” said Willis.

“I remember when his name popped up and they told me they had this kid who had a lot of potential but needed his skills refined, he needed work. You could tell back then he had the talent.”

Willis said so many colleges these days are looking for the ready-made back, a guy who can come in and do everything right away. “They don’t want to put in the work with a kid, they want the guy who is ready made for the game. I think that is where recruiting has gone, they don’t want the fixer-uppers.

“I’m not saying Tyler was a fixer-upper. He was just very raw, he needed the work to bring those skills out and now you are seeing his potential as an all-around back like Jamaal Williams. He can run, catch and make big plays out there.”

Allgeier, the utility turf guy is rising.