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January 25, 2014

Rawls to transfer from UM to CMU

Central Michigan just received a nice little boost to their running back depth chart as Thomas Rawls has elected to transfer to CMU from Michigan.

Flashing back to the class of 2011, Rawls was a prep standout at Flint (Mich.) Northern where he ran for 1,585 yards and 19 touchdowns. He was rated as a three star prospect and the No. 19 player in the state of Michigan by Rivals.com, and he drew early offers from Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Toledo.

Rawls was heavily recruited by the Chippewas and was one of the top players on their recruiting board. His running style and toughness were a perfect fit for Dan Enos's offense, but he was also recruited by former CMU head coach Butch Jones at Cincinnati. Leading up to December of 2011, CMU was likely the favorite of Rawls and they had developed a strong relationship.

"Honestly I haven't really narrowed it down that much yet, but a lot of people already know how I feel about CMU," added Rawls in an interview with ChippewaCountry in 2011. "They were my first offer and they will always be in my heart because of that, but Central Michigan sits very high with me."

Several of the players he was close with in that class are still with the Chippewas, including Alex Niznak, Jason Wilson and Tim Hamiltion. The host for his official visit to CMU, Deon Butler, is also still with the program.

But then came the offer that he could not refuse: Michigan. Rawls was barely recruited by Rich Rodriguez staff despite Flint Northern's head coach being the son of Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson. As it stood, once Hoke took over at Michigan, the only head coach he would retain would be Jackson, and Michigan eventually ramped up their recruiting by January. He was offered shortly before signing day, and then made the announcement at his high school that he was committing to Michigan over Central Michigan.

Now three years later, Rawls is back at CMU and the place that first captured his attention. He will be immediately eligible, as he is set to graduate from Michigan this May with a degree in General Studies. He joins a talented backfield that returns Saylor Lavallii, Anthony Garland and Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore.

Over his Michigan career, Rawls ran for 333 yards and five touchdowns on 73 attempts. He saw the majority of his action in 2012, when he had 57 carries.

Stick to ChippewaCountry for the latest in CMU athletics and recruiting

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