BYU adds pair of RBs with Cal's Brooks, Stanford's Heimuli (+6 mid-year enrollees)

California Golden Bears running back Christopher Brooks (34) runs the ball against the Washington State Cougars during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021 in Berkeley, Calif. (Lachlan Cunningham, Associated Press)

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PROVO — Call it the post-Tyler Allgeier plan — or maybe, BYU taking another win away from the Pac-12 Conference.

Either way, the Cougars added two quality running backs Wednesday with the enrollment of Cal's Christopher Brooks and Stanford's Houston Heimuli in time for the winter 2022 semester.

Brooks, a 6-foot-1, 235-pound tailback from Oceanside, California, was Cal's leading rusher in two of the past three seasons, totaling 1,734 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground and another 50 catches for 345 yards and seven scores through the air.

The former Christopher Brown signed with the Golden Bears after setting records at El Camino High School in California, where he amassed 3,249 yards and 34 touchdowns in his final three seasons. he changed his name from Brown to Brooks in 2021 to honor his mother. After entering the transfer portal following the 2021 season, Brown initially committed to Purdue and head coach Jeff Brohm before ultimately enrolling at BYU.

Heimuli is a homecoming, and a legacy recruit, at that. The former Bountiful High standout appeared in 42 games at Stanford, primarily as a blocking fullback, and was named a team captain for the 2021 season.

The son of former BYU running back Lakei Heimuli was a two-time all-state player at Bountiful and ranked as the nation's No. 2 fullback by and ESPN in 2015 prior to serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and enrolling in 2017. The 5-foot-11, 265-pound fullback who majored in human biology also played track, soccer and rugby at Bountiful, and his brother Helam played football at Weber State.

"We are excited to welcome Chris and Houston to our football family," BYU coach Kalani Sitake said in a statement. "Chris is a talented tailback with a power-running style who has been a leading contributor on the field for Cal. As a former fullback, I have a huge appreciation for the consistent and important contributions Houston has made for his team over his career. Both Chris and Houston are also outstanding students, and we are pleased they have chosen BYU to continue to achieve their on-field and academic goals."

Timpview High School football player Logan Fano signs a letter of intent to play for BYU during a signing day event at the school in Orem on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020.
Timpview High School football player Logan Fano signs a letter of intent to play for BYU during a signing day event at the school in Orem on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

In addition to the two graduate transfers, BYU added six players from previous recruiting classes at the winter semester, including former Orem High five-star offensive lineman Kingsley Suamataia.

The group also includes Timpview defensive lineman Logan Fano, Pine View's Brooks Maile, South Summit offensive lineman Bruce Mitchell, Bingham wide receiver/defensive back Isaiah Glasker, and Weber defensive end Aisea Moa — who graduated from high school early to enroll at the winter semester after the Cougars announced him with the early signing group of 2021.

"Back when I was committed to Utah, a year or two ago, I decided I was going to graduate early," Moa told ESPN 960 recently. "I had to do a lot of stuff to make sure I'd get on track."

Fano, Maile, Mitchell and Glasker are also recently returned church missionaries.

Chris Jackson enters the portal

The portal giveth, and the portal taketh away.

On the same day as BYU's new running back additions got to school, another offensive weapon hit the transfer portal when junior Chris Jackson announced his departure from BYU.

The 5-foot-10, 184-pound multi-threat receiver played in 21 games over the past two years for the Cougars since transferring from Mt. San Antonio College in California, but his production has steadily declined since catching two passes for 20 yards in BYU's 24-16 win over Arizona in the 2021 season opener.

Jackson, who also had offers from Middle Tennessee and San Jose State before enrolling at BYU, totaled 695 yards and four touchdowns on 50 receptions in 2018 before signing with the Cougars. He was also a special-teams ace, totaling 100 or more all-purpose yards in five games, including a 98-yard kick-return touchdown.

"BYU will always have a place in my heart, but unfortunately I've decided to enter the transfer portal due to personal reasons," Jackson tweeted. "I also would like to thank my teammates y'all will always be my brothers."

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