The University of Utah has a depth issue at running back, so it began taking care of it on Monday afternoon by picking up a commitment from Oklahoma transfer T.J. Pledger.
Pledger rushed for 451 yards and five touchdowns on just 95 attempts in 2020 as a junior, but it became clear during the season that sophomore Rhamondre Stevenson (665 rushing yards, 876 all-purpose yards) would be the No. 1 option out of the Sooners backfield. Stevenson has declared for the NFL Draft, which means Pledger would have seen an increased role next season, but he opted for a fresh start anyway.
Pledger’s junior season qualifies as a breakout effort for the former four-star recruit of out IMG Academy (Fla.). In his first two seasons at Oklahoma, Pledger played in 21 games, but had just 23 total carries.
Pledger bolsters Utah’s running back room, which includes redshirt freshman Micah Bernard and true freshman Ricky Parks, but it stands to reason the Utes are not done adding running backs.
Even before Ty Jordan’s death on Christmas night, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham indicated he would be in the market for running back help, noting he usually likes to carry five or six scholarship running backs.
The Utes underwent a significant exodus during the fall as TJ Green, Devin Brumfield and Jordan Wilmore all opted to transfer.