Kimani Vidal likes to have the football in his hands.
The rising senior running back expects to see it a lot for Marietta in the upcoming season, with the hopes of that trend continuing at the college level as he committed to Troy on Monday.
The three-star recruit, who had offers from LSU, Memphis, South Alabama, South Carolina and Syracuse, among others, is the 131st-ranked player in Georgia by Rivals.
Vidal said he chose Troy because of how it planned to utilize his skill set.
“I like having the ball in my hands a good amount,” he said. “The coaches at Troy told me that they would give me the ball the same amount of times as I got at Marietta.”
Vidal said he will graduate from Marietta in December to enroll early at Troy and get a head-start on preparations for his first college season. He will major in exercise science.
Under Marietta coach Richard Morgan, the 5-foot-9, 200-pound Vidal received the ball 15-to-20 times per game in 2018. He finished with 954 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
Morgan said Vidal is like a "Swiss-army knife" in the backfield.
“He has shown great power and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield,” Morgan said. “Close to 7 yards a carry is a lot for a back, so we made sure that he had the ball a lot. In late-game situations, I like the ball in his hands.”
Morgan liked Vidal’s college selection.
“I really love this move for him,” Morgan said. “He had a couple offers from other schools, but Troy was only bringing in one back. He was the back they needed.”
At Troy, a member of the Sun Belt Conference, Vidal will face teams like Georgia Southern and Georgia State, but he said he is looking forward to some of the Trojans' non-conference opponents. In 2020, they face North Carolina State and Tennessee.
“Troy plays big schools throughout the season,” Vidal said. “In those games, I want to make a name for myself. I want to show people what I can do.”
Off the field, Vidal said he loves the atmosphere of the Troy campus and the surrounding town.
“I really think my commitment to Troy was great,” he said. “Troy is a college town, and it’s just a different vibe around the campus. It made me feel at home.”
As for his final season left at Marietta, Vidal said his goal is to stay healthy and ready for game days.
“Getting the small things corrected is what I plan to get out of next year,” he said. “I want to polish my skills and be a do-it-all back. I know I can do it.”