Luke Staley


Position: Running Back


  • Tualatin High School (1995-1998}
  • BYU (1999-2001)
  • Detroit Lions (2002)


  • Consensus Oregon High School Player of the Year. All-State on offense, defense, and special teams {1998}
  • MWC Freshman of the Year (1999)
  • Led BYU to a 12-0 start in 2001
  • 2001 Doak Walker Award winner (best running back in nation)
  • 2001 First Team All-American
  • Decided to skip his senior season and enter the NFL Draft. Was drafted in the 7th round because he was injury-prone, never played a down in the NFL

Remember when BYU was ranked #7 in the nation? Actually, they spent 6 consecutive weeks in the Top 10 in 2001, peaking at #7 after defeating rival Utah on November 17th to push their record to 11-0. Their high powered offense that year was lead by running back Luke Staley: the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, First Team All-American, and Doak Walker Award winner. BYU led the nation in scoring that year (46.8 points per game) and total offense (542.9 yards per game). Staley rushed for 1,596 yards and 24 TD’s in just 11 games, and added 334 yards and 4 TD’s receiving. He led the nation in yards per carry (8.1), total touchdowns (28), and scoring (15.5 points per game), and was 3rd in rushing yards per game (143.8).

Sitting at 10-0 with 3 games left in the season, BYU faced its hated rival, Utah, in a game that would decide the Mountain West Conference championship. Down 21-10 with just over 3 minutes left, BYU needed a dramatic comeback to save their perfect season and claim the conference title. Staley came to the rescue, scoring two touchdowns and a 2-point conversion in the final 3:30 as the Cougars escaped with a 24-21 victory.

Watch the highlights:

So what happened the rest of BYU’s magical season? They had a bye week following the Utah win, then traveled to Mississippi State and beat the Bulldogs to improve to 12-0, but Staley suffered a season-ending ankle injury in that game. The following week, Hawaii ended BYU’s perfect season in blowout fashion, hanging 72 points on them. The Staley-less Cougars accepted an invitation to the Liberty Bowl, where they lost to Louisville. BYU coach Gary Crowton had this to say after the game:

“(Not having Staley) makes a big difference,” BYU coach Gary Crowton said. “He’s a very good player. He’s very explosive. That was 28 touchdowns this year. We missed Luke, but we’ve got to move forward because he won’t be here next year.” (Source)


Staley decided to skip his senior season and enter the 2002 NFL Draft, which wasn’t a good move on his part. Teams were wary of picking him because of his injury-prone past, and as a result he wasn’t picked until the 7th and final round when the Detroit Lions took a chance on him. The other teams were right to pass on him; he injured his knee in training camp before his rookie season even got under way and never played an NFL down. He is now a pharmaceutical representative in Utah.


Some dude puts Luke Staley on his Madden “All-White Team” (he calls him “Luke Stanley”). This guy is one of the biggest nerds I’ve seen this decade, along with 2007 spelling bee champion Evan O’Dorney. Anyway, the Staley reference is about 5:13 in:

>>Return to RFP Homepage


3 Responses to “Luke Staley”

  1. that nerd youtube is too much. that guy is hilarious

  2. Luke is one of my all-time favorite college football players. Well done with this entry!

  3. gocards Says:

    interesting post… you guys are doing good things, keep it up

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