The Massachusetts Minutemen have continued their solid work on the recruiting trial and have secured verbal commitments from two players this week, adding pledges from Arlington, TX (Sam Houston HS) RB Peytton Pickett on Sunday and Philadelphia, PA (Simon Gratz HS) OL RaQuan Thomas on Tuesday.
Pickett adds more depth and skill to the UMass backfield, and he is the 3rd running back to commit to the Minutemen in this cycle, following Tyshaun Ingram and Tyler Thompson. The Minutemen also saw two true freshman get the lion's share of the carries this past season in Marquis Young and Sekai Lindsay, but after those two the depth at the position was lacking. Pickett, along with Ingram and Thompson, provide UMass with great depth and balance at the RB slot and give head coach and offensive coordinator Mark Whipple a lot of options with regards to both formations and play-calling.
About a month ago there was some confusion with regards to Pickett's status, as it was reported that he had signed with UTEP and was enrolling early for the spring semester (Pickett has graduated from Sam Houston High). You can read more in this article from our colleagues over at Miner Rush, but as it turns out that information was incorrect. Pickett was not bound to UTEP and committed to UMass after officially visiting the school on January 14th and an in-home visit on Sunday. He will not enroll early at UMass however, he will enroll in the fall.
Pickett committed to the Minutemen over offers from UTEP, Kansas, SMU, and New Mexico.
Peytton Pickett | Committed to UMass | Arlington, Texas (Sam Houston)
RB | 5'10" | 194 lbs. | 247Sports Composite: 77, 0.7794 (★★)*
UMass picked up its second commitment of the week yesterday in massive Philadelphia offensive lineman RaQuan Thomas. Thomas currently stands 6'4" and weighs 345 lbs. His size and strength will be a huge asset to the Minutemen offensive line as he projects to play guard at the next level for UMass.
Thomas is a terrific story as well. On October 4th, 2013, Thomas was shot five times at a gathering after a football game in Philadelphia. He was rushed to the hospital and survived, but had to go through some rigorous rehabilitation in order to get back on the football field. His hard work and dedication paid off and he'll be headed to UMass with a scholarship in hand this fall.
Make sure you check out these article on Thomas' recovery from the shooting from MaxPreps and Philly.com.
Thomas drew interest from numerous schools, mostly in the Northeast, and committed to the Minutemen over an offer from the hometown Temple Owls.
RaQuan Thomas | Committed to UMass | Philadelphia, Pennslyvania (Simon Gratz)
OL | 6'4" | 345 lbs. | 247Sports Composite: 81, 0.7811 (★★)*
Make sure to check out the highlights from both of the Minutemen's newest commits here, courtesy of Hudl: