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Utah running back TJ Pledger declares for the NFL draft

Pledger will still play in the Rose Bowl

Utah Utes running back TJ Pledger, wearing black, runs
Utah Utes running back TJ Pledger (5) runs in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Utah’s contest against Ohio State in the Rose Bowl will be TJ Pledger’s final college football game.

Pledger declared for the 2022 NFL draft via Twitter on Thursday.

“I’ve decided to trust God, Bet on Myself and declare for the 2022 NFL draft. I will be playing my last collegiate game at the Rose Bowl with my Utah Football Family, and I can’t think of a better end to my college career. I’m excited for the next step in my journey. See you in Pasadena,” Pledger wrote in a message posted on his Twitter page.

Pledger rushed for 671 yards and six touchdowns on 97 carries this season, averaging 6.9 yards per carry. Though he was behind Tavion Thomas for much of the season, he had four games of 100 or more rushing yards.

The 5-foot-9, 196-pound junior played three seasons at Oklahoma before transferring to Utah. In his best season with the Sooners, 2020, Pledger rushed for 451 yards.

“To my coaches - thank you for always believing in me. I would especially like to thank Coach Whitt for the opportunity and Coach McDonald for pushing me to new heights and demanding the best version of myself each and every day,” Pledger wrote. “Ute Nation and Sooner Nation thank you for making the atmosphere nothing short of amazing. Your support has made my college football experience electric.”