When Nebraska hosted Texas A&M this season, there were a lot more highlights for the Aggies than those from members of the big red. It was a defensive nightmare for the much-maligned "Blackshirts", as they gave up close to 400 yards rushing in the 36-14 loss.
You might not think that would be all that good in regard to making an impression on any official visitors, but there was one in particular who still can't believe what he saw. "It wasn't a great game for Nebraska , but those fans, they were all still there," Redlands , California standout defensive tackle Quintin Toailoa said. "They were chanting our names and just saying how much they needed us there.
"I have always looked for a family atmosphere, and they had it. It was like that in that stadium."
That visit and his commit, which Quintin said he made on the 20th of this month, but waited until Christmas to let even his parents know about his decision, was one where Quintin wanted to make completely on his own. He wanted to weigh his options, look at what was best for him, and, of course, talk to the new coaches on the staff.
Even before Toailoa could talk to new Head Coach Bo Pelini, though, he let Bo's brother know that he was Nebraska bound. "I committed to Coach Carl Pelini. I talked to Coach Bo Pelini the day after and he just asked me ‘Is it true?'," Quintin said. "I told him it was and that I wanted them to keep it quiet until after I could talk to my parents."
And their reaction?
"Oh, they were excited. They were all fired up. They couldn't believe it, because I made the decision and told nobody until I told them for Christmas."
Quintin was sold, and he now looks at the future as something he can't wait to confront. He was recently described as one of the most aggressive players in all of the CIF, which is the premier division in California high school football. He isn't just aggressive. He's borderline insane, and that's just the way he likes it.
"Football isn't for nice guys. It's great, because it gives me a chance to kill someone on every play and I actually get away with it," Quintin said. "I'm not making any friends out there and that's how I like it."
When trying to remember all the times he had players in his sights, where there was nobody between him and the player with the ball, that's when the eyes light up and some "interesting" words come up. "Yeah, the profanity is flying by that point, because he's going to know I am there before I hit him," Quintin said with a laugh. "I love football. You can just take it out on someone and nobody cares."
When Quintin looks at his own ability, he sees himself as an automatic fit when he eventually gets to Lincoln . At 6-5 and around 280 pounds, he also knows he's got the physical stature to play right away.
Maybe the biggest thing, though, was watching Nebraska this last year, looking at their own well-chronicled struggles on defense, and knowing that he, this super-aggressive kid from the west coast, could be a significant part in bringing the luster back to a storied Nebraska tradition.
In fact, he doesn't look at it as a possibility. He is taking it to the bank, and he wants Husker fans to know:
"We'll bring it back. We'll bring back the tradition of dominance on defense," he said. "I'm as solid a commit as there is and I am going nowhere but Nebraska . And when I get there, I'm going to help to bring it back.
"We'll bring it back.
"There's no doubt about that."
Quintin reported approximately 15 offers and chose Nebraska over Oregon, Arizona and Fresno State, amongst others.
Toailoa finished the season with 92 tackles, including three sacks, playing the nose-position in a 3-4 defensive scheme.