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How Micah Bernard Has Worked His Way To Being One Of Utah’s Top RB’s

Utah’s running back Micah Bernard (2) runs past BYU’s defense they compete during the first half of an NCAA college football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. (Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah redshirt freshman running back Micah Bernard had a different path to becoming one of the top RB’s for the Utes.

Out of Gahr High School, Micah Bernard signed with Utah in 2019 where he used his redshirt. After Zack Moss graduated and started his NFL career, the Utes had Jordan Wilmore, Devin Brumfield and Ty Jordan in front of Bernard.

Wilmore and Brumfield both transferred before the 2020 regular season finale against Washington State. This came after Ty Jordan emerged as the lead running back. That left Jordan and Bernard as the only experienced running backs on the roster.

Following the tragic passing of Ty Jordan, Utah brought in Tavion Thomas (ICC), T.J. Pledger (Oklahoma) and Chris Curry (LSU) from the transfer portal. That created more competition for Bernard and a steeper hill to climb but he put in the work during the off-season and the coaches have noticed.

How Micah Bernard Worked His Way Up

Tavion Thomas had a standout performance against Weber State in the opener but lost a fumble in the game. Early in the second quarter against BYU, Thomas fumbled the ball again. That opened the door for Bernard and he ran with the opportunity. Bernard finished with a career-night rushing for 146 yards on 12 carries and one touchdown. He also caught four passes for 18 yards in the loss to BYU.

“I have been wanting to get back to my old self,” Bernard said after practice on Monday. “I feel like I am getting but I still have a long way to go. Just gotta keep it up.”

In the loss, Kyle Whittingham said in his Monday morning press conference that Bernard was one of the standouts from the game.

“Incredibly proud of Micah and he’s grown up right before our eyes,” Whittingham said. “He was a very young senior in high school. I think he was only 16 or 17 years old, young guy, could have been one class later because he was one class ahead. He has matured and developed a toughness and a consistency about him that is admirable and it’s a credit to him and a credit to Kiel McDonald, the position coach, but he has stayed the course, not got ahead of things and let himself develop at a good pace and now he’s reaping those rewards for his work ethic and for how far he’s come development wise.”

Coach McDonald wasn’t surprised by the breakout performance by Bernard.

“For me, it was something that was expected because he works hard,” said McDonald. “You are going to get what you work for at the end of the day. He’s worked hard to put himself in that position. With him making those plays, it wasn’t a shock to me. It was a great opportunity. His preparation met the opportunity and he performed.”

Utah will wrap up their non-conference schedule on Saturday, September 18 against San Diego State in Carson, California. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. MDT on CBS Sports Network.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for, Co-Host of Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.