All BYU fans know the name Luke Staley. During the magical run of 2001, that saw BYU start 12-0, Staley set BYU’s single-season rushing mark at 1,582 yards along with a record 24 rushing touchdowns. He went on to win the Doak Walker Award, given to the NCAA’s most impressive running back of the season. To this point, he is the only BYU running back to take home the award.
Enter Tyler Allgeier. He should absolutely be a finalist for the award when they are announced.
Sure, there are plenty of top-tier running backs around college football this season. Sean Tucker at Syracuse leads all of college football with 1,267 rushing yards. Allgeier is third behind Tucker and Kenneth Walker III from Michigan State, making up the only three running backs in the country that have already eclipsed 1,000 yards this season.
Texas’ Bijan Robinson also deserves to be in the discussion as well, with 967 yards and 11 touchdowns to date.
The Doak Walker Award states the criteria for winning the award.
“Candidate plays predominantly at the running back position and has made extraordinary contributions to his team.
Candidate is enrolled in a degree program, is in good academic standing and is on schedule to graduate.
Candidate holds a record of good citizenship within and beyond the athletic sphere.
Candidate has demonstrated a record of leadership.
Candidate exhibits the characteristics of sportsmanship and fair play associated with Doak Walker.”
I would say all of that describes BYU’s sophomore out of Fontana, California. He currently leads in the NCAA in rushing touchdowns. If he is able to maintain that status through the end of the year, there is little excuse to leave Allgeier off of the list of finalists. Plus, if anyone knows his story off of the field, he has overcome a lot, including being a former walk-on at BYU, to become one of the country’s most prolific backs.
For those who might scoff at the level of competition, Allgeier has 765 rushing yards against Power 5 teams alone. He helped seal the victories over Utah, Arizona State, Washington State, and Virginia with late-game surges. It’s not just his overall numbers that are impressive. He is one of the most physically imposing and punishing running backs in the entire country. He clearly has that “Derrick Henry” effect, the MVP-caliber running back for the Tennessee Titans. Over the course of a game, he gets better as the defenses get weaker and tired of receiving punishment by his hand.
Allgeier sits at 1,132 rushing yards for the 2021 season. That is already tied for the 9th-most rushing yards in a single season at BYU, with Harvey Unga in 2008, and he has four games left including the bowl game. He needs to average 115 yards per game the rest of the season to surpass Staley as BYU’s single-season rushing record holder.
Thus far, he is the only running back in the country that has passed 1,000 yards rushing both last year (1,130) and this season.
BYU has not even had a finalist for the award since Staley in 2001. While there are several deserving running backs this year, and frankly one may emerge as more deserving than Allgeier to actually win, Allgeier, at the moment, should absolutely be a finalist.
1130 rushing yards and 13 rushing TDs for Tyler Allgeier last season. 1132 yards and 16 rush TDs this season with 4 games to go. Luke Staley’s 1582 yards and 24 TDs in play.— Robby McCombs (@rtmccombs) October 31, 2021
Allgeier absolutely deserves to be a Doak Award finalist with Bijan Robinson and Kenneth Walker.
Still, there is work to be done. Other running backs around the country will continue to rack up yards as the season gets long in the tooth and teams play big games against highly ranked opponents. Allgeier will need to dominate against lesser competition like Idaho State (frankly, I think he should take the week off) and then Georgia Southern before the regular season finale at USC.
It will get tougher to stand out. Allgeier likely will need to have another giant game before the regular season is through to garner an invite as a finalist. In 2019, all three Doak Walker finalists eclipsed the lofty 2,000-yard mark. Allgeier won’t get to that benchmark, but if he can remain in the top five in rushing yards along with his eye-popping touchdown numbers, it will be tough to justify leaving him off of the list of finalists.