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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
Published Aug. 8
Updated Aug. 9

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.”

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