1. Sports
  2. /
  3. HomeTeam

Pinellas Park running back Lawrance Toafili commits to Florida State

The four-star recruit joins Largo linebacker Jayion McCluster as a future Seminole.
Pinellas Park running back Lawrance Toafili runs the ball during the second quarter against Palmetto Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 in Largo. [ CHRIS URSO ]   Times
Pinellas Park running back Lawrance Toafili runs the ball during the second quarter against Palmetto Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 in Largo. [ CHRIS URSO ] Times
Published Aug. 8, 2019
Updated Aug. 9, 2019

Pinellas Park’s Lawrance Toafili, considered one of the nation’s top running backs in the class of 2019-20, has committed to Florida State.

Toafili, labeled a four-star prospect by most recruiting services, made his announcement Wednesday night on Spectrum Bay News 9. The top-ranked player in the Tampa Bay Times HomeTeam 100 rankings this season, Toafili also had offers from Florida, Michigan and Ohio State, among others.

“Me and my mom were doing a pros and cons list, and (Florida State) edged it out,” Toafili said on the announcement show. “I just felt like it was time. I kind of just wanted to focus on my senior season.”

Toafili has been one of the area’s best backs since his sophomore year with the Patriots, when he gained 1,691 yards. Last season he solidified himself as a Division I-A prospect. He gained 1,434 yards and scored 17 touchdowns despite playing against defenses stacked to stop him.

RELATED: HomeTeam 100 spotlight: Lawrance Toafili upholds family traditions

Toafili, the 23rd-ranked running back in the country by recruit-rating website Rivals, would be the first Pinellas Park player to play football at Florida State.

“He’ll fit right in,” Pinellas Park coach Kenny Crawford said. “He can catch the ball; he can run the ball. He can do it all. He is surely the best back I’ve ever coached, and I’ve coached a lot of good backs.”

Florida State recently got a commitment from another four-star running back, Jaylan Knighton of Deerfield Beach.

Largo linebacker Jayion McCluster decided on the Seminoles in May. He and Toafili played youth football together with the Pinellas Park T-Birds.

McCluster said his former teammate had to go to Florida State.

“Ever since I committed, I’ve been in (Toafili’s) ear,” McCluster said. “After a while, I fell back because I felt like it’s where he wanted to be. Then after his recent visit, I was all in.”


  1. With Mike Trigg, right, back in the lineup, Seffner Christian has a very real shot at returning to the state tournament. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
  2. East Lake's Brooke Roberts slaps a ball to leftfield, a hit that led to an error, a base-clearing moment and a race home for Roberts during an 11-3 victory over Durant in last year's Lady 'Canes Spring Classic semifinal. [SCOTT PURKS]
  3. Bobby Richardson came out of "retirement" for an opportunity to play for the Vipers. The former CFL defensive tackle previously played under current Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville in 2018. [TAMPA BAY VIPERS/XFL   |  Tampa Bay Vipers/XFL]
  4. Corky Rogers, coach of The Bolles School in Jacksonville, walks across the field as his team celebrates after beating Miami Booker T. Washington in the Class 4A state championship game on Dec. 10, 2011, at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Rogers, who won more state titles than any coach in Florida high school football history, died Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 76. [WILL DICKEY  |  AP]
  5. Tampa Catholic's Xavier Floyd, left, and goalkeeper Charlie Gembarowski are in the foreground as Fort Lauderdale University players celebrate their Class 3A championship at Spec Martin Stadium in Deland. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
  6. Shorecrest Prep senior Asher Rovin, who missed most of the regular season after sustaining a concussion, strikes the ball past Tallahassee Maclay's Broedy Poppell (21) in the first half at Spec Martin Stadium in DeLand on Thursday. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
  7. Plant junior Nyla Jean not only averages double digits in scoring, but she has a knack for stealing the ball from opponents. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
  8. Carrollwood Day’s Milahnie Perry scores 14 points to lead the Patriots, who get a balanced effort in the Class 3A state semifinals. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
  9. Shorecrest players hug, cry and console each other after losing to Orange Park St. Johns Country Day in the Class 2A title game at Spec Martin Stadium in DeLand. [WILLIE J. ALLEN JR.  |  Special to the Times]
  10. Points were hard to come by in the first half for forward Jakara Akins, left, and Keswick Christian, which trailed Florida A&M 22-16 at the half of a Class 2A state semifinal Wednesday afternoon. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
  11. Caitlin Blankenship, along with older sister Brooke, moves on from Academy at the Lakes, which won consecutive state titles, to River Ridge. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
  12. St. Petersburg boys basketball coach Chris Blackwell, seen here in a game earlier this season, said his team had to utilize freshmen as Tuesday's game at Fort Myers wore on ... and on ... and on for five overtimes. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]