'09 Unwrapped: Levine Toilolo

Stanford looks serious about its 2009 recruiting based on a spurt of activity since September 1. Head coach Jim Harbaugh made a particular splash on Friday when he made his first recruiting evaluation trip of the fall and on his first stop saw a junior at La Mesa (Calif.) Helix High School. The Cardinal quickly offered 6'7" tight end Levine Toilolo, who is excited about Harbaugh's personal visit.

Despite La Mesa (Calif.) Helix High School tight end Levine Toilolo (6-7, 235) being a big prospect - literally and figuratively - for the class of 2009, he's a pretty relaxed kid off the field.

But when Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh checked out Toilolo during one of the six evaluation days the Cardinal staff gets this fall, Toilolo was pretty jacked.

Harbaugh returned to San Diego, where he had been the past few years as the head coach of USD, and eyeballed Toilolo, then submitted an official offer through the Helix head coach to the versatile tight end.

"That one kind of came out of the blue," says Toilolo.  "I had gotten a couple of letters from them, and I had been up there for the Nike Camp, but I wasn't expecting an offer."

The titanic tight end says that Harbaugh's visit to the Helix campus made a big impression on him.

"That was a great honor, just to be able to have a coach like that take his time to come down and see me.  It's great to be able to have this opportunity," Toilolo offers.

The offer from the Cardinal came on the heels of an offer from defending national champion Florida.  And while Toilolo says he'd like to explore options around the country, Stanford is very much a player for his services.

"I really would consider Stanford a top choice.  Especially knowing they're really good academically and in a strong conference like the Pac-10," Toilolo assesses.

Academically, the Helix High School junior is carrying a 3.5 GPA and will take the SAT for the first time in the fall.  He's also planning to take some AP and honors classes in the next two years.  Having moved from H-Town Academy to Helix has taken some adjustment as well.

"The school, H-Town Academy, closed down," Toilolo explains.  "I'd probably still be there if it hadn't, but I like it a lot at Helix.  When I was at H-Town, they tried to throw it to me as much as I could, but our line was real young so I spent more time blocking.  We ran the ball more over there and I fit in more as a defensive player."

But now at Helix, a Top 25 team in California, Toilolo is getting a chance to show his ability on both sides of the ball.  The 6'7" athlete is a key part of the Highlanders' offense and defense.

Last weekend, he had two catches for 20 yards, a week after catching three passes for 55 yards and a score.  While his first game was worthy of offensive MVP honors, last weekend's nail-biter over Lone Peak of Utah saw him make his contributions large on defense.

"I blocked a kick in the fourth quarter that would have helped them and I also had a sack," the recruit reports.

This week, though, Toilolo and his Highlander teammates are in for a tougher challenge when they face the top team in San Diego:  Carlsbad.

"I think we were looking ahead to Carlsbad [last week], so we were just glad to get the win.  We're feeling good about this game, but our coach is always making sure we don't get too bigheaded and that we're confident more than cocky."

Last fall at H-Town Christian, Toilolo had 12 catches for 270 yards and two touchdowns while amassing 70 tackles and 13.5 sacks, an interception and fumble recovery and blocked four field goals.

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