Toma Completes ND's Recruiting Class

Sitting at the table at a National Signing Day function in Honolulu, Hawaii, Roby Toma had a letter-of-intent for UCLA in front of him ready to be signed.

Except, Roby Toma couldn't sign it.

"I turned around and told my mom I couldn't do it," the 5-foot-10, 160-pound receiver said.

"I just had a gut feeling that Notre Dame was the place for me."

On Friday morning, it will officially become the place for him. Toma will fax in his letter-of-intent to Irish head coach Charlie Weis, choosing Notre Dame over UCLA and Hawaii.

Toma becomes the 18th and final player in the Irish's 2009 recruiting class, joining his best friend and prep teammate at Punahou High, five-star linebacker Manti Te'o.

Like Te'o was able to keep it a secret that he was going to Notre Dame, Toma actually kept his Irish offer a secret from the public.

"The offer came about three weeks ago," Toma said. "I just didn't tell anyone. Only me and my family, and Manti and his family knew anything about it.

"I didn't want anything coming out, because at the time, I was committed to UCLA. But after praying and talking with my family, God really showed me that Notre Dame was the right choice for me."

This past season, Toma helped lead Punahou to its first-ever State Championship. He led the state in receiving, catching 82 passes for 1,380 yards and 19 touchdowns. He played in the Hawaii/Polynesian-Mainland All-Star Game, as well as the UnderArmour All-American game.

"Coach Weis told me he really likes how I catch the ball and make plays in space, and make people miss," Toma said. "They said they really like how I ran my routes and read the defense."

Toma got to know the Notre Dame coaching staff well over the recruiting process, with assistant coach Brian Polian making regular stops to the island, and Weis showing his face a few times as well.

"I just loved everything they stood for, and what Notre Dame stood for," Toma said. "The way they treat their players, and I love the fact that Charlie Weis is a family man, and he brings that into his coaching, and you can see it in the way he treats people and his players."

Toma said it was very tough for him to not sign with UCLA, a school he's been committed to since October.

"You never want to break your word, and I didn't want to upset coach (Norm) Chow or anybody. I just hope they can respect me, because I know I'll be happy at Notre Dame. I'm not saying I wouldn't of been happy at UCLA, but Notre Dame seemed like the perfect place for me to go and do well."

On signing day, Toma and Te'o actually talked about how they reached the point where they will be going their separate ways. A little over 24 hours later, they were finally able to share in the joy that they will be staying together.

"We are both real excited because people can't say they played with their best friend from Pop Warner, to high school, to the collegiate level," Toma explained. "Me and him are real excited, and just trying to take it all in, and hopefully we can both go up there and make an impact at Notre Dame."

Toma can't wait to see the place with his own eyes for the first time. He actually gave a verbal commitment to UCLA without visiting first, and has heard good things about the Irish campus from Te'o and his family. Toma has been given a virtual tour of Notre Dame, but now he wants the real thing.

"I'm going to visit after basketball season. I might even come during a spring practice." Top Stories