A Trio Of Utah Running Backs Teamed Up To Help 50 SLC Families With Thanksgiving

Nov 24, 2022, 12:02 PM
Utah Utes running back Zack Moss (2) runs in the second Utah touchdown of the game against Arizona ...
Utah Utes running back Zack Moss (2) runs in the second Utah touchdown of the game against Arizona State Sun Devils linebacker Merlin Robertson (8) while quarterback Tyler Huntley (1) signals first down during the first half of an NCAA football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (Colter Peterson, Deseret News)
(Colter Peterson, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY- A trio of Utah running backs teamed together to provide and handout 50 turkeys to deserving Salt Lake City families ahead of Thanksgiving. Zack Moss, Jamal Anderson and Tavion Thomas combined their efforts and resources to help show appreciation toward a community that has always rallied around them and the rest of their Utah teammates.


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The turkey handout happened on Monday, November 21 outside of The Store in Holladay, Utah. Thomas being the only guy locally located at the moment was on hand distributing the turkeys, hugs, and pictures while Moss and Anderson funded the project as a way to give back for all of the opportunities Utah has afforded them over the years.

Combining Efforts

The three running backs grace three different periods of Utah football history but are a demonstration of the “Utah Brotherhood” so often talked about.

Anderson was a Ute back in the early ’90s when the football team was beginning to find its footing again after years of incompetency and gained a national audience with his “Dirty Bird” dance in the NFL. Moss was a key cog in Utah’s come-up as a Power Five team between 2016-2019 while breaking all sorts of long-standing Utah running back records. Thomas is the most current of the three, helping Utah to their first ever Pac-12 Title and Rose Bowl appearance in 2021.


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Moss and his agent were the connectors in getting several different generations of Utah running backs together according to Anderson and for all three, it was a no-brainer to do something nice for the community with some of the challenges everyone is currently faced with.

“Zack Moss and his agent, Jamal who is a fantastic attorney and agent and Tavion Thomas were all talking about a way we could give back this holiday season,” Anderson said. “So many people have been impacted by things going on in the world- prices and gas, and all this other stuff. How could we have some small impact- positive impact and give back to families who are in need during the Thanksgiving holiday which is my personal favorite holiday.”

Thomas noted that as he was growing up, he didn’t always have a secure place to be on holidays and just wants to help people not have to experience what he has. Getting involved with Moss and Anderson was also a way for Thomas to be able to say “thank you” to a community that has fully embraced him from day one.

“I was one of them kids that had to go to different families for Christmas and stuff like that,” Thomas said. “For me, this is something I’ve always wanted to do- to just give back and see the smiles on people’s faces because I was one of them kids who had to Christmas at other people’s homes. I know how it feels to be in need- you just want to be around positivity and be around people who are good. Family, friends, whoever it may be. I just want to make people feel good, make people be happy and see the smiles on their face.”

Moss has always been openly appreciative of what Salt Lake City and Utah football have done for him even while he was still a student-athlete. That love for the city and school has continued now even into Moss’ NFL career.

“Holidays are always a good time to give back to the community, and especially a community I was in for four years of my life,” Moss said. “My agent came to me with a great idea to give back with Jamal Anderson and Tavion. I really liked the idea just because of who the guys were- that running back room that we have out there at Utah. It was a good opportunity for me to do something and any chance I get to do something in Utah- I’m going to do it.”

Hugs, Pictures, Turkeys

Anyone that has followed along closely knows Thomas’ journey to and through Utah has not been the smoothest– some of it due to the circumstances he comes from and some of it self-inflicted. It’s easy to forget sometimes that guys like Thomas aren’t used to people caring and not giving up on them no matter how frustrating they can be. However, none of the ups and downs mattered on Monday when Thomas was handing out turkeys at The Store.


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The return on investment both ways was special to watch. Yes, Thomas made a lot of people’s days which was the entire point of the event, but they also clearly made his day as well- a reminder he finally has a place to be after years of just floating in the abyss. There were some tears, some laughs, pictures, hugs and a lot of love shared with every single person Thomas encountered.

“It’s very important for me to show that love that y’all showed me cuz y’all embraced me, man,” Thomas said after giving away the Turkeys. “Everything is so new to me, so, to just give it back- just to let you all know I really appreciate every, single thing that y’all do for us- not just me- this whole Utah community and whole football team. You all are so amazing and shoot, I could really just do this all day. Make sure you all are happy and feeling good.”

Sharing Some Thanksgiving Memories In Hopes Of Helping Others Make Some

Utah’s trio of running backs have a lot of positive Thanksgiving memories from mom’s cooking to burned turkeys and playing ball at the park before dinner. What was clear from all three Utes is that family is important and making it easier for people to spend time with theirs to make some of those fond memories themselves matters.

“Obviously the food is one thing,” Anderson said. “My mom is an unbelievable chef, but I feel like it’s one of the best holidays for families to be together. That’s part of why we wanted to do something so we could try and aid a number of people in having a family gathering and Thanksgiving. The turkey is a big deal- for us to be able to put ourselves in a situation to assist was a pleasure.”


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Moss says because so many of his own dreams have come true because of other people, he wants to pay the blessings forward as much as possible.

“Coming from where I come from, ya know, you always dream about being in this position,” Moss said. “I’ve always dreamed about playing college football, being in the NFL and giving back. Those were some of the things that I wanted to do and now I have the opportunity to do that. It’s nothing new, I’m not necessarily the most out-spoken person about the things I’m trying to do but whenever you have a chance to be a blessing to other people, I try to take full advantage because I know how many times I’ve been blessed in my life. I just want to continue to spread that and do the best I possibly can with what God has given me in this platform to try and use it in the most positive way.”


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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A Trio Of Utah Running Backs Teamed Up To Help 50 SLC Families With Thanksgiving