Commentary: The 15 best pass-catching running backs in BYU history

Published: Monday, July 1 2013 2:48 p.m. MDT

BYU’s legacy, where college football is concerned, is with their quarterbacks. BYU's football history is littered with All-Americans, Davey O’Brien and Sammy Baugh winners as well as a Heisman Trophy winner.

While these accomplishments are great, none of those awards would have been earned without great wide receivers, tight ends and pass-catching running backs.

In a three part series, I look back and analyze the players at each of these positions to decide who the best of the best in Cougar history are, beginning with the running backs.

The running backs are ranked only by their abilities as receivers. My ranking has nothing to do with what they did as rushers or pass blockers. Their stats also include bowl games.

Coming up with a list of only 15 players was very difficult because there have been so many great receivers out of the backfield.

Those who just missed the cut still deserve mention. Scott Pettis, Waymon Hamilton, Eddie Stinnett, J.J. DiLuigi and Jeff Blanc were all effective dual-threat backs at BYU and helped the Cougars win many games.

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Washington, UT

Are you sure Matt Bellini was a running back? Wasn't he a slot receiver? Are the lines getting blurred here?

Eric G

dumprake...Matt Bellini was a running back. Mark Bellini was a wide receiver. You should probably stick to your own teams stories so you at least know who the players are.

LDS-BYU Convert

Why was Manase Tonga left off the list? I do remember hearing and reading that he was one of the most valuable in terms of running, receiving, run and pass blocking that we have ever had and of course played briefly in the NFL for the Raiders.

"The Chow"
Sandy, UT

The pass-catching running backs add real excitement to the offensive game. They add another dimension to the game that makes it harder to defend against. BYU has been blessed with some very talented running backs over the years and I can hardly wait to see Jamall Wiliams in action this coming season. He was outstanding as a freshman. I believe you will soon be able to add him to your top 15 list.

midvale, UT

Seriously? you have Kelly ahead of Todd??? I love the contribution to the national championship but revisit the numbers and think back on how much Todd contributed. Not really very close at all.

Wilsonville, OR

I remember Eric Lane and Homer Jones against San Diego State at the end of the 1979 season. UCLA and USC were having bad seasons. So, they got a regional spot on ABC while the Cougars and the Aztecs played nationally. Five minutes into the game, the Cougars were leading 21-0, and the switchboard at ABC really lit up!

Bountiful, UT

@Eric G
"dumprake...Matt Bellini was a running back. Mark Bellini was a wide receiver. You should probably stick to your own teams stories so you at least know who the players are."

He can't, he doesn't know any ute players by name. He's one of those ute fans who are really just BYU haters. They don't really know anything about their own teams but try to act like they know everything about BYU.

Enid, OK

Casey Tiamalu.

Ahhh.....that's a name that brings back memories.

One memory in particular is worth repeating:

We were playing UCLA and Casey had the ball and scooted to the outside on the left. A decent sized UCLA defender (read that as "not a wimpy corner") tried to tackle him. Casey simply lowered his head, hit the UCLA player squarely in his chest and LITERALLY ran right over the top of him.




And kept on truckin'...

Dude!, it was AWESOME and still makes me smile 20+ yrs later whenever I think about it.


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