Two guys got very excited about the early news that Thomas Toki will be joining Washington State in 2015, Mike Breske and Joe Salave’a. I’m sure Leach is jumping for joy (oh god what would that look like, remember Wulff’s leaps of exhilaration[?]) right now as well over this news, but Breske needs a kid like this in his 3-4 scheme like he needs water.
Toki is a 4-star defensive tackle in both the Scout (ranked 16th) and ESPN (ranked 13th – which usually doesn’t mean much… except in this particular list) 300 for the 2015 class.
At 6’1, 292 and out of Kirkland’s Juanita High, Toki is every bit the valued recruit as his high ranking suggests. His offer list already includes several Pac-12 schools and as a junior prospect he competed with such names as Marcus Griffin at the Oregon Nike Elite Camp back in June. He was also named first team All King-County 3A/2A Defensive Line as a sophomore and then followed that up with a repeat performance this past season. Both times, he was the only one in his class to pull that off while seniors pulled in the rest of the spots.
The offer list – UCLA, ASU, OSU, Utah, Arizona and Vanderbilt had thrown their hat in the ring in addition to WSU.
The aforementioned list suggests that he is not going anywhere either. While WSU struggles generally to keep a kid like this interested because of “bigger” offers and fans would worry that he is bound to pull out like Griffin did at some point, the offers were most certainly coming and he knew about it already. He wants to be a Coug, plain and simple.
Of course, he could still make me look stupid here, but this isn’t a snap-judgement that he arrived at to leverage better offers elsewhere, he has those in his back pocket. He’s ranked No. 1 in the state of Washington at his position, quite possibly overall. Chris Petersen is sure to use his new found recruiting pull at Washington, Helfrich at Oregon, Sark knows about this kid and will get in at USC and at least a couple more big-time programs were already bound to offer. Toki says he did this to avoid the mayhem of the whole recruiting process while he focuses on becoming a better football player in his senior season.
He’s already visited the Washington State campus three separate times and loves it here. The new facilities, the Mike Leach factor, the Joe Salave’a factor, the WSU factor, it’s all paying off with this kid and it’s a sign of big things to come. This is a huge recruiting win, not only in the Pac-12, but in-state. The Cougs haven’t previously been able to land anything close (in terms of in-state high school talent).
The tape says it all; Toki is a beast. He has the size and leverage to be an impact freshman in any class and is capable of doing the types of things Ioane Gauta and Toni Pole accomplished here and more as a freshman. He actually reminds me a bit of Star Lotuleilei at Utah a few years ago, just a dominating presence that’s much quicker than he should be and possesses all the power you would want.
Just watch him in agility drills and manhandling competition at the camps in the footage below; all I got to say is “let’s go!”