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An Early Look At BYU’s 2022 Running Back Room — Will The Transfer Portal Be in Play?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 Vegas Kickoff Classic - Arizona v BYU Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

BYU’s most productive player from the 2021 season is off to the NFL after running back Tyler Allgeier will leave Provo after back-to-back 1000-yard seasons.

Allgeier leaves a giant void in the backfield, but BYU has some guys returning and will likely look to the transfer portal to add one more guy to the room. Below are the guys returning and what BYU could look to do as we begin the offseason.

The Returnees

Lopini Katoa

Katoa announced before the bowl game that he would return to BYU for a sixth season. Katoa rushed for 242 yards this season and has 1,467 in his career to go along with 723 receiving yards. After redshirting in 2017, Katoa led BYU in rushing as a redshirt freshman in 2018 with 423 yards, was second on the team in 2019 and 2020, and was third this year in rushing yards behind Tyler Allgeier and Jaren Hall. Katoa is a safe and proven commodity in BYU’s backfield that will be part of the rotation.

Jackson McChesney

A standout at Lone Peak High School, McChesney has struggled with injuries during his three seasons in Provo. He rushed for 274 yards as a freshman in 2019 after gashing UMass for 228 yards on just 15 carries. He tore his lisfranc at Navy in the 2020 season opener and didn’t see the field until late in the year in 2021. He had a nice touchdown run late in the USC game, showing that McChesney will compete with Katoa for carries in 2021.

Miles Davis

Davis was a standout in spring ball and the beginning of fall camp until a foot injury at the end of camp forced him to miss most of the season. Roderick mentioned Davis as someone that would contribute before his injury.

Davis returned at the end of this season and played mostly on special teams. If he’s healthy he has the athleticism to contribute.

Others

Hinckley Ropati, Sione Finau, Mason Fakahua

Transfer Portal

Kalani Sitake has shown the willingness to go into the transfer portal for a running back. In 2019 they added Ty’Son Williams and Emmanuel Esukpa and in 2020 they added Devonta’e Henry-Cole from Utah before he left the program to join Utah State.

Many talented running backs will continue to enter the transfer portal as bowl games finish, and I expect BYU to try to land at least one immediate contributor to compete for the starting running back spot.

BYU should be an intriguing option for high end transfers. They just had a running back with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons declare for the NFL Draft, Jaren Hall returns as starting QB, and BYU returns most of its offensive line pieces and adds 5-Star Oregon OT transfer Kingsley Suamataia. A running back with multiple years of eligibility would also be around for BYU’s inaugural Big 12 season in 2023.

If Twitter is any indication, Harvey Unga recently followed TCU star running back Zach Evans, a former 5-star RB that rushed for over 1,000 yards total in his first two seasons for TCU. Now I don’t expect BYU to land Evans by any means, but BYU is already on the lookout for a big time running back that can take the reigns and be the number one running back in 2022.