Toomey Thriving With Clean Slate

Everything happens for a reason and purpose, so having any second thoughts doesn't do any good. That's the approach Iowa Central Community College linebacker Gabe Toomey, a former West Des Moines Valley standout and Oklahoma signee, has taken.

For only being in his second year of college, Toomey has been through more adversity and change than most kids his age. But the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder is happy to be on a clean slate, playing football again and looking forward to resuming his Division I career.

"I don't really like to regret anything," said Toomey, who is averaging 16 tackles and two sacks per game for sixth-ranked and undefeated Iowa Central. "I feel it was a good learning situation for myself and my family.

"To clear up the rumors, they didn't really force me to go anywhere. My dad was just looking out for me and I kind of got all hyped up with the national championship and everything. I kind of just went with it. They're really cool and all, but you just need to be happy. That's first and foremost. It was just my decision. I kind of have to learn from it. I know what I want now."

Toomey graduated from Valley in 2001 and had originally signed to play with the Sooners out of high school.

However, concussions during his first year forced him to the sidelines with a medical redshirt. Off the field, Toomey didn't feel at home in Norman, knew it was time for a change and moved to Fort Dodge last summer to begin classes at Iowa Central.

Toomey, who will be a redshirt sophomore with three years of D-I eligibility remaining, has already started looking around the right fit after he graduates from Iowa Central next spring. Although he is considering three different programs right now, Toomey considers the Cyclones to be his leader right now.

"Since it's my second time going through, I kind of know what I really want and what's good for me," he said. "I know what to look for and what not to look for. Iowa State is on the top of my list. I love Coach McCarney and his staff. It's close to home for me. It's a really good program now. I don't know why anybody would not want to go there.

"I get along with all of the guys on the team, which is a big thing. The academics are good there and it's a good environment. No trouble is really going on right now. I'm happy there and knew I was happy there since I visited as a junior.

Iowa and Colorado State are also recruiting Toomey, who expects to get scholarship offers in the month of November and then start taking official visits. He will most likely keep his list of schools brief.

"I really know what I want right now and am limiting it down right now to in-state, with Iowa State and Iowa," he said. "I really like the state of Iowa. I really like Colorado State, too. They're only an hour and a half north of my family. I'm going to leave all of my options open of course, but in my mind I know what I want."

Toomey's parents moved from their home in West Des Moines to Colorado Springs within the last year.

Another big reason for his interest in the Cyclones is that Toomey feels that Ames is a home away from home. Three former Valley players are currently starters for ISU—Casey Shelton, Joe Woodley and Collin Menard—and Toomey said he is very close with all of them.

"The players are really good guys and I know a lot of them, because a lot of them played for Valley," Toomey said. "After the games we'll all hang out at their house. They were only a couple of years ahead of me, so we're pretty good friends. It feels like a second home for me."

While the Cyclones are his top choice right now, Toomey is most concerned with finishing up his A.A. degree and helping the Tritons have a successful season and perhaps earn a postseason bid. He started at Iowa Central last summer and originally needed to earn 60 credits to graduate and be eligible to transfer to a Division I program. Toomey expects to graduate on May 10th and would be able to participate in summer workouts.

On the field, Toomey is starting at the PAUL linebacker position for Iowa Central and pretty much has the freedom to roam around the field and make plays. In ISU's system, Toomey said he most likely would play WILL linebacker.

"I can play MIKE linebacker and play the inside running, but I'm more of an outside linebacker but not up on the line like Tyson Smith used to," he said. "I'm just side to side like Brandon Brown. Right now I go to the calls at the strong side. We play both inside and outside."

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