Whatever coach wants me to do, I’ll do it. It’s cool. But I’ll try every game to do my best and we’ll see what happens. —Utah running back Troy McCormick
SALT LAKE CITY — It hasn’t taken long for Troy McCormick to make a name for himself at the University of Utah. The true freshman from Katy, Texas, has drawn a lot of notice the first week of camp.
“It’s real early but so far it looks like he’s going to be a guy that is a contributor for us,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham.
The 5-foot-9, 165-pound running back has impressed the coaching staff with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He’s also being mentioned as a candidate to replace record-setting All-American Reggie Dunn as the Utes’ primary kickoff return specialist.
“Whatever coach wants me to do, I’ll do it. It’s cool,” said McCormick, who acknowledged it would be hard to match what Dunn did returning kicks. “But I’ll try every game to do my best and we’ll see what happens.”
In his senior season at Mayde Creek High School, McCormick averaged 35.7 yards on nine kickoff returns. He also rushed for 1,768 yards with 21 touchdowns and caught nine passes for 80 yards.
Whittingham noted that McCormick’s versatility makes him kind of a slash guy who can run out of the backfield and also use his excellent hands to be a pure receiver.
“He’s got great quickness,” Whittingham said. “And he’s just a tough, tough kid.”
Utah recruiting coordinator Morgan Scalley isn’t surprised that McCormick is doing well in camp. He recruited him out of Mayde Creek High School in Katy, Texas.
“His speed is what stood out,” Scalley said. “He’s itty, bitty, but the guy is dynamic and explosive — soft-spoken but a competitor.”
Scalley noted that McCormick was the top dog on his team so he was the one that everyone keyed on.
“He’s a very competitive kid, very confident in his abilities,” Scalley said. “And he’s done well.”
McCormick was a four-time letter-winner in football and track. He earned all-district honors in football three times — advancing from honorable mention recognition as a sophomore to second-team accolades as a junior to first-team and co-offensive MVP heights as a senior. Although slight in frame, the 18-year-old can dunk a basketball.
Determination and drive are a big part of what McCormick is all about. It’s the approach he’s tried to bring since joining the Utes for summer conditioning.
“I’ve just been working hard every day like it’s my last day,” McCormick said. “You never know when it’s your last. I’ve just been working hard.”
McCormick is adapting to the speed of the college game and is busy learning the plays. The tempo, though, is taking some adjustment.
“The pace is ridiculous but I’m going to catch on,” McCormick said.
Like many others, Scalley is excited about his progress. He added that the Texan does a lot of things naturally and is an explosive kid.
Then, there’s McCormick’s versatility.
“The more he can do, the tougher he is for defenses to target him,” Scalley said.