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Utah football gets commitment from 2015 Florida RB Taylor Thomas

Published August 16, 2014 4:04 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Push play, and watch the pinball bounce and roll.

At 5-foot-8, Taylor Thomas isn't all that big, but he can wiggle and dart through a pile, as his Hudl highlight film shows.

The Utes have coveted the three-star Jacksonville, Fl., running back for some time now, and on Friday afternoon their investment was repaid: Thomas is committed to Utah, and he's excited about bringing his talents to Salt Lake City.

"I can bring excitement to the Utah Nation," he said. "Every play, every down. There's good things to come."

Hailing from Ed White High, Thomas ran for 897 yards and seven touchdowns last year according to the Florida Times-Union, averaging 13.2 yards per carry in a Wing-T scheme. This year, the Commanders are switching to a no-huddle, spread scheme in the vein of Auburn. He's also a kick and punt returner for his team.

Thomas said he felt the Utes' offensive scheme fit him well, and the coaching staff told him they wanted to use his speed in a variety of ways. Interestingly enough, it was defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake who forged the closest bond with Thomas.

"He came out and reached out to me and started making a connection," Thomas said of Sitake.

That relationship, the fit in the offense and a chance to play in the Pac-12 all helped cement Thomas' decision. He chose the Utes over Indiana, Maryland and Middle Tennessee State among others.

Thomas has not yet visited Utah, though he expects to drop by campus on an official visit sometime during the upcoming season. When he gets to Utah, he expects at least one familiar face: Thomas used to watch incoming transfer Ahmad Christian play at nearby Trinity High School when he was young.

The Utes still have a few Florida recruits in their sights, and Thomas said he's ready to help them get a few more commitments in the Sunshine State.

In the meantime, he's glad to have his decision out of the way with his season coming up. The Commanders have just about all of their offensive standouts returning, and have high hopes after dropping out in the first round of playoffs last year.

"I wanted to get my mind right before our season," he said. "I think we have what it takes to win state this year."

Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon