Tavion Thomas’ Tremendous Turnaround

Nov 13, 2022, 10:16 AM

Tavion Thomas - Utah Utes - Stanford Cardinal...

Utah Utes running back Tavion Thomas (9) runs the ball in for a touchdown, putting the Utes up 7-0 over the Stanford Cardinal after the PAT, in Stanford, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. (Courtesy of Deseret News)

(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY- Not a lot is known about what has been going on with Utah running back Tavion Thomas but from the bits that have been revealed, it sounds like his turnaround has been tremendous. Thomas took his final bow Saturday night in front of the home crowd, and he didn’t disappoint.

The talented ‘back finished his final night at Rice-Eccles Stadium with 22 carries for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He outgained and outscored Stanford’s entire offense in Utah’s rout of the Cardinal, 42-7.

“First of all, I just want to say I’m so happy to be out there with my teammates,” Thomas said. “My boys came to the game and all the seniors- we all wanted to be out there and perform for each other. Play for each other and that’s all I was really worried about. I wasn’t worried about carries or anything. I was worried about finishing this and playing with these guys right here.”

A Heart Full Of Gratitude

Thomas admitted the last six weeks or so have been hard for him. Earlier in the season he lost his beloved aunt who helped raise him- at least part of the reason for his absence over a large part of the season. However, he said in his post-game comments he owes a lot to his teammates for having patience with him and helping him to get back where he needs to be.

“It’s been challenging but you can’t run from it,” Thomas said. “You’ve got to attack it. I’ve got these great guys over here- a great support system here and they got me back right slowly, but surely. I’m ready to just get back with these guys and finish this whole season out and try to repeat back-to-back for the championship.”

Being able to perform one last time well in front of the home crowd who never gave up on him was important to Thomas who noted he’s never been around anything like it before.

“It’s just been fun,” Thomas said. “It’s been a long journey. Great fans, great atmosphere out there. Just unbelievable. I’ve never been a part of nothing like that. It’s pretty awesome.”

Kyle Whittingham On Tavion Thomas ‘Weathering The Storm’

Without revealing a lot, Whittingham detailed a little bit of what the process has been to get Thomas back on track and playing the way everyone is used to.

“For a while there, a couple steps forward, three steps backward,” Whittingham said. “I mean, there were some bumps in the road, but Tavion is in a good place right now. Really grateful that he continued to stick with it and fight through some of the issues that we were having. We didn’t give up on him either. We’re grateful he’s with us.”

Despite not completely knowing everything that Thomas has been through, one thing was very clear during Utah’s post-game press conference- Whittingham is proud of his star running back for sticking through a tough situation.

“Tavion Thomas had a big game,” Whittingham said. “It was great to see him in his last game here at Rice-Eccles get back to his old self. That was something- really proud of him and glad he’s weathered the storm.”


Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports




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Tavion Thomas’ Tremendous Turnaround