Utah has added a new commitment for the 2016 recruiting class, as running back Thomas McDonald from Grossmont College committed to running backs coach Dennis Erickson on Monday night. At 5'11-195lbs, McDonald has great speed and vision as a running back, and is also a big threat catching passes out of the backfield. Utah has had a long history of success utilizing running backs from junior colleges, as most of the all time great Utah running backs like Mike Anderson, Marty Johnson, Quinton Ganther, Matt Asiata, John White IV and most recently, and notably, Devontae Booker, came from junior colleges.
McDonald hopes to join that list of Ute greats, and spoke with UteSportsReport.com about his decision to commit to the Utes.
"I decided to commit to Utah, honestly, because I love the coaching staff and their energy. Right now they have an outstanding running back (Devontae Booker) that also came from a JUCO, and I like that they gave him an opportunity to battle for the starting spot, and now they have offered me the same."
That success with junior college running backS played a big factor in McDonald's decision, but he also believes Utah will be the best fit for him as a person. "I feel I will succeed at Utah both on and off the field. They also play in the great PAC 12, and I like the offense they run. That offense will be new to me, but I'll adjust quickly."
Running backs coach Dennis Erickson is the primary recruiter for the Grossmont running back, but McDonald also established a relationship with all the other Utah coaches through out the recruiting process. "Mine and Coach Erickson's relationship is great. It's not like most schools though when you just talk to your position coach, I have talked to almost all of Utah's coaches. I love their encouragement and they all believe in me."
McDonald, who is originally from Wellington, Florida, graduated high school in 2014 but was not academically eligible to join a division one program, and was eventually contacted by a Grossmont assistant coach, which started the process of him moving across the country to play football. "The DB coach at Grossmont got in contact with me through a recruiting service and he just checked in with me daily and got to know me as a person. I knew I had to go to a junior college but I wasn't sure how everything would work out. He explained everything to me and I just felt like Grossmont was the best opportunity for me after doing some research, so I moved out there right after I graduated."
The move to Grossmont has proved to be very beneficial for McDonald, and he had a very productive freshman season for the Griffins, posting 1,011 all purpose yards with 10 touchdowns. An offer in February from the Utes was his first, and was shortly followed by an offer from Texas State. McDonald states that Utah and Texas State were the only schools recruiting him at the time of his decision.
Now slated to be the number one guy at running back this season, it's very likely that more schools will come calling if McDonald posts even bigger numbers in 2015, but he won't be listening, as he's all in with the Utes. "I'm proud of my decision to commit to Utah. I know it's early but I really feel in my heart it's the best situation for me, so why wait? I've made my decision and I'm happy with it. Now I have to continue taking care of my grades."
McDonald is currently on track to finish up his AA in December, and will join the Utes in time for 2016 Spring Ball with 3 years to play 2. He has yet to visit Salt Lake City but is trying to make time to take a visit before the season starts. McDonald says he's most excited to see what exactly division one football is all about. "I already know the school and city are beautiful so I just want to go on my visit and enjoy myself. I want to see how fast paced D1 football really is, and I also look forward to getting up at 5 am for workouts when I finally join the team."
McDonald Looks Forward to Joining Utes
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