Ho Ching Chooses BYU over Wisconsin

Utah 5-A First-Team All-State selection Toloa'i Ho Ching from Alta High School has selected to play for BYU over the Badgers of Wisconsin. Ho Ching met with Coach Mendenhall on Monday to give him his commitment to play for the Cougars.

Ho Ching is rated among the top 50 outside linebacker prospects in the nation and joins a recruiting class ranked among the best in the nation. The 6-foot-1-inch, 225-pound hard-nosed gridiron warrior was being recruited by Utah, UCLA, Cal, Colorado and USC for a time and had offers from Wyoming, Wisconsin and BYU.

"I just felt like BYU was not only the place I wanted to be, but the right place for me to be at this time in my life," said Toloa'i. "I think BYU is going to make the best I can be with whatever I want to do in life. I'm confident in my decision and know I made the right choice."

"We are very excited," said his father, Toloa'i Ho Ching senior. "BYU holds a special place in our hearts. My wife and I both attended BYU and met there back in 1988, and so it's a sentimental choice for me and my family. We are happy that he made the decision to go to BYU knowing that he'll be going to a place that values the same standards as we do and [that we] will be able to attend his games."

The younger Toloa'i met with Coach Mendenhall at BYU on Monday and made his commitment in person.

"I sat down in his office and told him that I wanted to be a Cougar. I told him that I wanted to come to BYU and be a student here. He was excited and very thankful. He said it was about time and was the kind of reaction that anyone would be happy with in being welcomed into the Cougar family. I know it will be hard work and there will be a lot of trials, but it's all a part of life."

Many wondered why Toloa'i had been waiting so long to commit to a school. He decided to wait until now to make his commitment for a special reason.

"Although my last high school season was a rough one and didn't go as well as I had hoped it would because I had some injuries and some setbacks, I wanted to dedicate the season to my brother," he said. "He passed away when he was about one-and-a-half or almost two years old. He passed away on March 24th but his birthday is on December 7th, and so I wanted to dedicate my season to him. I thought it was best that I would commit to a college of my choice on his birthday."

Though that was a major reason why Toloa'i waited until now to commit, it wasn't the only reason.

"It was a process that I think many don't fully understand about him," said his proud father. "He's one of those guys that when he puts his mind to something he really focuses in, and he told everybody, ‘Look I'm not going to even think about this process until my season is done. I made a commitment to my teammates and to myself.' He wanted to do all that he could to try and help his team make a three-peat to the state championship game, so he did that and I think coaches everywhere were really surprised to see him not really focusing on the recruiting process. He really didn't think of it at all during the season."

Toloa'i was often reminded by his father about the recruiting aspect of his life that seemed to have been put on the backburner.

"As his father, I brought it up to him once in a while to see if he had put any thought into it. He would just tell me, ‘Dad, I told you I don't want to put any thought into that and just want to focus everything I have into this season.' So that's what he did and, when you put that much focus into something like that and it doesn't end up like you expect, it's hard. He had to take it on the chin like everyone else."

It wasn't until after the loss to Bingham High School that Toloa'i turned his focus towards the recruiting process.

"This was a process that he wanted to make on his own. We're pleased as parents with the route that he took after his high school football season was over. He took the last two or three weeks after the season to really ponder and pray about the decision on where he should be. When it was all said and done, he came back and felt that BYU was not only the place where he wanted to be but should be. We're very ecstatic for him."

"The kind of feeling you get when you go to BYU is a very family-oriented environment and it's a great feeling when you're there," said the younger Toloa'i. "I've been to many other schools and didn't get the same feeling I got when I was at BYU. I know you probably hear that a lot from other people, but it's true. There's a certain feeling you get when you step on campus at BYU and I enjoy that feeling. You don't get that anywhere else or at any other school, and so I just felt that BYU is where I needed to be at this time in my life and so that's where I'm going. I'm excited."

Toloa'i plans on studying business while at BYU, but plans on serving a mission before he immerses himself in those courses and gets out on the football field.

"I'm going to go on a mission and take care of that first," said Toloa'i. "I then want to come back and get my body ready for the next step. I know I'm going to grow a lot on my mission, and not only that – I don't want to go to college, play football and then have to set all that work aside for two years only to have to come back and start all over again. I'll just go on my mission and then come back and focus on school and football."

"He wants to go on his mission and then come back and focus solely on football and his education," said his father. "Coach Doman will be contacting us on the process of going through all that. I think he'll probably take a couple of classes the next September semester, and they will probably be classes that will help him prepare for his mission.

"When he comes back he wants to try and compete as quickly as he can. He's very excited about the future and we're very happy about his decision to go to BYU. As a father, you're always concerned about where your son is going and who it is you're handing him off to. It's comforting to know that not only are there some great leaders out there at BYU, but some great men to be examples to Toloa'i when he goes there. It's comforting to me as well. As parents all you can ask for is that they choose wisely. It's a good day for the Ho Ching family."

"This is actually a very special day for me," said a happy Toloa'i. "I was very happy walking out of the office after I told them of my decision to come to BYU. Not only was I happy because I was able to get that pressure off my back, but because I knew that I made the right decision that where I'm going is where I need to be."

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