Yours truly talked Monday with running back Thomas Clayton (6-0, 200 lbs., 4.4 in the 40), who entered Florida State as a freshman in the fall of 2002, but left after the fall semester. I'd known that Clayton was interested in the Big Ten (Northwestern and Michigan were prominently mentioned) and Vanderbilt, so I decided to give him a call to see what was the latest with him. And did I ever get some news!
"I was at Michigan recently for an official visit. The visit was great, spectacular. I went to a practice. It was really cool. I liked way it was conducted ... very intense. Michigan offered me a scholarship -- and I accepted! Once my application gets through admissions, I plan to start school April 28th [actually April 30th I believe] for the spring term."
Clayton was not redshirted this past fall as a freshman by FSU, and in four games he rushed for 45 yards on 13 carries.
"I love FSU. As a kid I watched them, and hands down they were my favorite. But when got down there I realized it was just not a good fit for me. It wasn't playing time -- I didn't get redshirted, and I played in several games as a freshman, and I probably would've started there this year, at fullback."
Clayton is a former USA Today All-USA second teamer out of Mt. Vernon High School in Alexandria, Virginia. As a senior Clayton he rushed 220 times for 1,504 yards (6.8 yards per carry) and 20 touchdowns. We also watched him play in the 2002 US Army All Star Game.
Why did he pick Michigan? "The tradition, by far. And the academics -- it's up there with the Ivy League. And there is a real team feeling there, all the players are real close. Also, I really, really love Coach Jackson, he reminded me of my uncle. And I think Michigan is the closest team to the National Championship. They just need a little help at running back."
"We haven't decide about coming to the spring game, but the scrimmage I saw was enough."
Note: as far as admissions, etc. Because Clayton left FSU at the end of one semester, he has some catching up to do regarding college credits in order to be eligible for fall 2004. He acknowledged that, saying, "I started the second semester at FSU but de-enrolled and left after a week. My dad and I didn't understand the NCAA rules regarding the credits I'll need to be eligible after sitting out a year. So I'm looking forward to my non-playing year at Michigan, in order to adjust and get all set academically."
Another Running Back!
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