Former BYU walk-on running back Tyler Allgeier is on the cusp of his NFL future

Second of an 11 part series. Coming tomorrow: wide receiver.

They call it “The Play” at BYU. An affair of the heart that immediately went viral.

Quarterback Jaren Hall was intercepted by Arizona State’s Merlin Robinson late in the third quarter. A pick six seemed likely. But running back Tyler Allgeier didn’t give up the game, not only gaining 15 yards to catch Robinson but demolishing the ball with a pounding motion. The cougars recovered.

“Tyler just went back into linebacker mode and saved the game for us,” teammate Isaac Rex said that night.

Not only did it secure victory in the September game, it also encapsulated Allgeier. A one-off walk-on that has evolved from an afterthought to a planned mid-round 2022 NFL draft pick. Who worked at Walmart to make ends meet. So low on the depth list early in his collegiate running back career that he was drafted as a linebacker, only to go on to become BYU’s fifth-leading rusher all-time.

Tyler Allgeier
Tyler Allgeier rushed for 2,736 yards in his last two years at BYU.

“It’s just crazy to think about,” he told the Post in a phone interview. “It took a lot to get here.”

The 5-foot-11, 220-pound Allgeier was a star running back at Kaiser High School in Fontana, California, an hour east of Los Angeles. He was the school’s top rusher with 5,086 yards in his three seasons as a starter and had 29 touchdowns as a senior. But his recruitment was non-existent. His only offer came from Division II, and Southern Nazarene of Oklahoma only offered him half a scholarship. The schools felt it was too stiff and too slow.

“It lit a fire in me,” he said.

The 21-year-old Allgeier was betting on himself, believing he could play at the highest level and that his work ethic and determination would win over the Cougars’ coaches. He wore a red shirt his freshman year and switched to linebacker the following season, in addition to special teams, because he was too valuable an athlete to keep on the bench, head coach Kalani Sitake said. Due to injuries, he got his shot on offense late in the year at the Hawaii Bowl and showed his promise when he rushed for 77 yards.

However, the financial component became increasingly difficult. Tuition at BYU for students who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints costs double. Allgeier took a job at Walmart and worked in warehouses to earn extra money. Before the next season he considered a change.

It became too much to juggle school, football and work. At that point, BYU couldn’t lose him, and Sitake told him he was top of the list for a scholarship. It finally happened, a smart move by Sitake in hindsight.

“In 2019 he was the lead tackler on the team [Boise State] game and in 2020 he was the leading rusher in that game the next year,” Sitake said. “You speak of a man who is versatile? There are a lot of running backs who claim to be versatile, who can run distances and do all these other things. But how many of them can go out there and play linebacker and have linebacker movie? He’s one of the few who can. The guy is going to be a special teams phenomenon [in the NFL].”

Allgeier completed his final two years at BYU, rushing for 2,736 yards. As a junior, he played alongside current Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. And last season, despite Wilson’s departure, he churned out even more, a program record 1,606 yards, 23 touchdowns and an average of 5.8 yards per carry. Against top competition, he had 111 yards and two points against USC, 266 yards and five points against Virginia, and 102 yards against rival Utah. Sitake said an NFL scout compared him to Cardinals running back James Conner. Allgeier enjoys watching Brown’s Nick Chubb run back. He will not shy away from contact.

“It’s just that mindset that you absolutely have to have: you have to hit them before you get hit,” he said. “It will automatically produce positive yards.”

Now, a few weeks away from realizing a lifelong dream, Allgeier just wants one chance. He doesn’t care who gives it to him or when it happens. In a way, he’s going to start over again, much like he did at BYU. He will stand behind more experienced players, prospects drawn in in front of him. It won’t bother him. He’s been there before.

“It’s going to be excitement, joy, humble beginnings and all of that,” Allgeier said. “It will be a stress reliever if I know where I’m going and then put my head down and get to work.

“Playing with the best against the best is an amazing feeling.” Former BYU walk-on running back Tyler Allgeier is on the cusp of his NFL future


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