Was Luke Staley better than any Utah back?

Doug Robinson claims that Staley was the best back to play for any Utah school.

I will admit that I don’t remember watching him play but am extremely skeptical of this claim. Staley rushed for 1,596 yards in 2001 which is slightly more than Utah’s record of 1,519 set by John White IV in 2011. Staley won the Doak Walker and was consensus All-American; feats not accomplished by any Utah back.

Here, however, is BYU’s weak schedule schedule from 2001


Four of Utah’s top five rushing years took place in P12 play: John White in 2011, Devonte Booker in 2014, Zack Moss in 2019, and Joe Williams in 2016. So I find it very difficult to conclude that Staley’s 2001 record is more impressive than any of these years by Utah backs. How many yards would these Utah backs have gained if playing MWC opponents all year? Perhaps this is a different thing than who was the best player but since I don’t remember watching Staley play (I almost never watch the Zoobs play) I can’t really say.

So what say you? Was Staley better than any Utah back as Robinson claims? Or is Robinson just showing his true colors and stirring the pot?

That claim is utter nonsense.


It’s Deseret News. They’re supposed to say that.




Had Staley played a Big 12 schedule, his numbers would’ve been more impressive. 2001 was a pretty weak crop of RB’s nationally, so his numbers stood out more.

Though he did get to play in the NFL, injuries and concussions got him gone from play pretty fast.

Going backward, Popcorn Rodgers, Carl Monroe, and EJ were better RB’s. Looking at our PAC 12 time, (as was pointed out in an earlier post on this string) we have had more than a few RB’s who were better than Staley.

Then again, we are talking about Utah’s “Pravda” paper.


This. Why else would any journalist pull Luke Staley out of the past and write a story about a question no one is asking?


It’s from the DNews, take the claim worth a grain of salt. Fun read, but doesn’t have legs. Can’t forget that Staley was injury prone. Don’t remember Staley having more than 1 good season, because he was healthy.


Joe Williams 2.0 was the best back I’ve seen come out of Utah. Had he played that way the entire season he probably would’ve won the Doak. Other than Joe 2.0, Staley would be as good as anyone I’ve seen. His speed +size + strength was frightening.