Notre Dame identified four-star junior Lokeni Toailoa early as an elite talent. The Irish offered Scout’s top-ranked middle linebacker last spring after the 6-foot-1, 210-pound prospect from Rialto, Calif., was barely finished with his sophomore season at Carter High School.
On Wednesday, Toailoa received a school visit from Irish linebackers coach Bob Elliott.
“I know what to expect by now when coach Elliott comes by,” Toailoa said. “He’s visited about five or six times. He’s very down-to-earth and straightforward. He’s been around the game a lot, and he knows how this stuff works.”
Toailoa said the Irish are recruiting him as an inside linebacker, and the chance to garner early playing time at Notre Dame is something Elliott has mapped out for him.
“They like me as a middle linebacker, but they like my versatility to move around and play different linebacker spots,” Toailoa said. “Coach Elliott was telling me that this year they are starting a senior linebacker from Mater Dei, and a rising junior is backing him up, so I would have the opportunity to compete for early playing time when I got there.”
For Toailoa, Notre Dame’s reputation both as an academic institution and football program is something that sticks out right away when he thinks of the Irish.
“It’s not every day someone has the opportunity to go to Notre Dame,” Toailoa said. “It’s a prestigious school on and off the field, and that’s easy to see.”
Toailoa has not yet trimmed his offer list, which includes Arizona State, Boise State, California, Duke, Louisville, Miami, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Rutgers, Washington, Washington State and Wisconsin. He expects to cut down his potential options this spring.
“I can’t say for sure when I’m going come out with a list, but I think it will be pretty soon,” Toailoa said. “I will be looking at things like education, which is my first priority, and how I like the school as a student’s point of view and not just as a football player.”
Toailoa’s spring plans so far include visiting USC for junior day.