Updated: Utes Making Positive Impressions Early At The East-West Shrine Bowl

Feb 1, 2023, 1:02 PM | Updated: Feb 3, 2023, 2:30 pm

LAS VEGAS – Running back Tavion Thomas and linebacker Mohamoud Diabate are representing the Utes this week at the East-West Shrine Bowl and apparently making some early positive impressions in their own rights.

Game preparations are winding down for the East-West Shrine Bowl as both players will be wrapping up the practice portion of the week in an effort to showcase their talents with the hopes of hearing their names called later in April for the 2023 NFL Draft.

The East-West Shrine Bowl game is set to be played on Thursday night at 6:30 pm MT and can be viewed on NFL Network if you don’t happen to be in Las Vegas to catch it live.

What’s Being Said About Tavion Thomas

Thomas’ buzz began day one as measurements were taken with those in attendance being floored by the running backs’ unique size, with several outlets calling Thomas a “throwback”. 

Thomas measured in at 6’1″ and 247 lbs. while wasting no time showcasing his shiftiness and agility despite being a larger back.

The one real knock that has come up so far for Thomas is not being much of a pass catcher, however, no one has been disappointed by his physicality and ability to read the offensive line.

What’s Being Said About Mohamoud Diabate

Diabate has also been turning heads despite only spending a season with Utah football. The athletic linebacker has been receiving praise from the Patriots coaching staff for his ability to hit the right gap in the run game as well as being a positive leader out on the field. 

Former Pac-12 Network analyst and current NFL Network analyst Mike Yam reported the other day the coaches at the Shrine Bowl believe Diabate may be the fastest linebacker of the bunch playing Thursday evening.

Diabate has also been credited through the week with being good at covering the field and using his physicality well.

How The Utes Faired Thursday Night

While not the stars of the show, both Thomas and Diabate had their moments to shine in the East-West Shrine Bowl on Thursday night.

Thomas ended his night with four carries for 26 yards and one reception for nine yards. His best play of the game came on a 29-yard run play to start the second half, helping the East team to cross midfield.

Diabate posted two tackles in the West Team’s victory over the East Thursday night. The best play of the night for Diabate came in the second quarter with the East Team in the red zone. Diabate came off the edge in space and dropped former Fresno running back Jordan Mims for a one-yard loss in space.

Mission Accomplished For The Utes

It is important to note with these college showcase games that showing well in the preparation period leading up to the actual game is far more valuable to NFL prospects than necessarily showing out on game day.

College showcase games are designed to allow NFL coaches and scouts to work up close and personal with future prospects to see how coachable they are and if they can handle an NFL workload. Unless teams are directly working these games, most NFL personnel leave before the actual game is played once practices and prep wrap up.

With that in mind, both Thomas and Diabate did exactly what they needed to and accomplished a lot by all accounts with their East-West Shrine Bowl invites.

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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Updated: Utes Making Positive Impressions Early At The East-West Shrine Bowl