Toma Finally Gets To See Home Away From Home

Roby Toma had seen Notre Dame digitally, through a program and presentation Irish assistant coach Brian Polian brought with him on a recruiting visit to Hawaii. But until this weekend, he'd never seen his future college campus in person.

It certainly looked better in real life.

Last Friday through Sunday, the standout receiver from Punahou High in Hawaii, visited the Notre Dame campus on an official visit, taking in everything including the Irish spring game with his parents.

"It exceeded all my expectations," the 5-foot-10, 160-pound Toma said.

"Just like, I really liked how the campus was laid out, and that Touchdown Jesus was something else. I didn't realize it was that big."

So is Toma's game. The Irish offense is getting a playmaker that along with fellow Notre Dame signee Manti Te'o, helped lead Punahou to it's first-ever state title in 108 years as a school. Toma led the state in receiving, catching 82 passes for 1,380 yards and 19 touchdowns. The Under Armour All-American became the 18th and final member of Charlie Weis' recruiting class, making it official with the Irish the day after national signing day.

Toma had met Weis, Polian and assistant coaches Jon Tenuta and Rob Ianello, when they made visits to the island. This past weekend, he got to talk with the rest of the coaching and support staff for the first time.

"They were awesome," Toma stated. "They are all real nice. They all came up and said hi to me, which was awesome, and I got to speak with a lot of them for a little while. And it was real nice that my parents got to meet them, so they could be comfortable with the place I was going."

Sounds like Toma's parents had a great time as well.

"Oh my god it was fantastic, fantastic," Tammy Toma said.

"I think it's going to be a good experience for him. But it's so far away though. Very far.

"I'll tell you visiting the campus, I've never had a feeling like I've had at a school before. I had that spiritual feeling visiting the campus. I don't know how to describe it. It just had that touch. The way of life there."

The day of the spring game was a great time for both Toma and his parents.

"It was crazy," Toma said. "The fans were awesome. I was with a bunch of 09 signees like Carlo (Calabrese), and Jake (Golic) and Chris Watt, and all these guys were asking for our autographs, and it was kind of crazy because we were still in high school."

"We had this experience, where we got on the field and got to talk to the ushers," Tammy Toma began. "Some of their stories, and I used to work and teach oral history, and some of the stories the ushers have are amazing. Some of them have worked 15 to 20 years, and they had a perspective that was just unique."

All three got some one-on-one time with head coach Charlie Weis.

"My mom and dad were real excited, and my dad even got to wear coach's Super Bowl ring, and that was awesome," Toma explained. "My dad was stoked."

Toma himself was just stoked to be hanging out in The Gug, where all the Irish football facilities are.

"That thing was amazing," Toma exclaimed. "The team's meeting rooms, the assembly rooms, the weight room was huge, and then the indoor facility, it all blew my mind."

Toma said that Te'o wished he could've made the trip up to South Bend too. The two are excited to be reporting to school this summer to get started on their college football careers.

"It's going to be a quick transition, but I'm real excited," Toma said. "It will be a lot easier with Manti there." Top Stories