Among the many standouts of the Cougars’ 2021 season, Tyler Allgeier has clearly had a tremendous impact. With three of our top 20 individual performances of the season to date, and an epic forced fumble that will forever live in BYU lore, Tyler has been putting together a season that many have compared to past Cougar greats like Jamaal Williams and Luke Staley.
Of course, it doesn’t take much perusing on Twitter to see some fans talking about Allgeier as a potential finalist for the Doak Walker Award, or even the Heisman.
While Tyler is definitely on pace for an amazing season, there’s always an uphill battle to climb in winning these types of awards when you’re outside of a power conference. For the Heisman, especially, it’s hard to even get in the running if you’re not a quarterback. However, we thought it would be a good idea to look at recent Heisman RBs and see just how well he stacks up.
Tyler Allgeier’s Season So Far
First, let’s take a look at Tyler Allgeier’s numbers through the first ten games of the season.
To date, Tyler has achieved 1,167 rush yards on 203 attempts, good for an average of 5.7 yards per carry. He’s also notched 17 rushing touchdowns — that’s more attempts, yards, and touchdowns than all of the 2020 season. Allgeier has also gained 150 yards on 20 receptions throughout the year, averaging 7.5 yards a catch.
For the season, these numbers are good enough to put Tyler third for total rush yards, third in rushing attempts and in a first-place tie for rushing touchdowns. Obviously, Tyler’s numbers rank well among other running backs this season. But are they truly Heisman-worthy?
The Most Recent Heisman RB: Derrick Henry, 2015
If you want proof that the Heisman has largely become a quarterback award, look no further than the fact that the most recent running back to win the award came in 2015.
Derrick Henry put together a monster season for Alabama in 2015. Playing in all 15 games, Henry set SEC records with 2,219 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns on 395 carries, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. While Henry wasn’t much of a threat in the receiving game (91 yards on 11 receptions), his rushing numbers made him an indisputable cog in the Crimson Tide’s offense.
Tyler Allgeier’s yards per carry is actually slightly better than Henry’s — 5.7 yards per carry to 5.6. But with 203 rushing attempts and only three games to go (including the bowl game), there’s no way Tyler is going to match Henry’s number of rushing attempts or total yardage. The only area where he could realistically come close is in rushing touchdowns, but only with several epic Virginia-esque performances.
The Most Recent RB Heisman Finalist: Bryce Love, 2017
As further proof that the Heisman is a quarterback award, Stanford’s Bryce Love was the last running back to be named a finalist in 2017.
Like Derrick Henry, Bryce Love put together some truly eye-popping numbers. Playing in 13 games, Love hit the 1,000 yard mark after just five games. With 263 rushing attempts, Love barreled his way to 2,118 total yards for an average of 8.1 yards per carry, while also totaling 19 rushing touchdowns. Similar to Henry, Love played a minimal role in the receiving game, with only six receptions on the year for 33 yards.
Love’s numbers are a little easier to compare to Tyler. It’s entirely feasible that Allgeier could get another 60 rushing attempts over the rest of the season. And he will more than likely exceed Love’s total number of rushing touchdowns. Once again, though, total yardage becomes an issue. To even get close to Love’s 2017 rushing yardage, Tyler would need to average roughly 300 yards per game over the final three games of the season.
What About the Doak Walker?
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that both Derrick Henry and Bryce Love won the Doak Walker Award — and this is where there’s a bit more room for Allgeier to make an impact. Basically, no running back is getting in the mix for the Heisman unless they are rushing for close to 2,000 yards on the season — something nobody is on pace to do this year.
On the other hand, the Doak Walker Award is more within reach. After all, this award is entirely focused on who the best running back is — and Allgeier’s play and rankings in key statistical categories certainly make a strong argument that he at least deserves to be a finalist.
The outcome here will largely depend on how both Tyler and other leading RBs play over the final stretch of the season — including some running backs who will undoubtedly get the extra benefit of playing in a conference championship game.
As a final end note, Luke Staley, BYU’s lone Doak Walker winner, ran for 1,582 yards and 24 touchdowns on 196 attempts, while also notching 334 yards and four touchdowns receiving.
Drumroll, Please: The Final Verdict …
Yes, Tyler Allgeier has been putting together an incredible season. He’s undoubtedly going to go down as an all-time great here at BYU. But, the reality is, even being named a Heisman finalist is extremely unlikely. On the other hand, Allgeier’s rankings for the season certainly put him in range for becoming a legitimate Doak Walker finalist.
There’s still a few more games to go before we get into awards season — fingers crossed that regardless of any accolades, Tyler will continue to deliver some amazing performances before he moves on to the NFL.