San Mateo Teammates Recap Texas Tech Visit

San Mateo teammates Rika Levi and Sam Atoe originally planed to visit Washington last weekend, but after Steve Sarkasian bolted for USC, they instead flew to Lubbock. UW's loss was Texas Tech's gain.

San Mateo defensive tackle Rika Levi and linebacker Sam Atoe flew into Lubbock Saturday, spent the day taking in the Texas Tech campus, program and residents and came away impressed.

In fact Levi, a JUCO prospect, said he has Texas Tech No. 1 on his list and "the rest can follow."

"The visit was great. The environment was everything was everything I wanted and the coaches were hella cool, too," Levi said.

Levi would be a huge get for the Red Raiders, who are in desperate need for some size along the defensive front. The 6-foot-3, 360-pound Levi was named Northern California Conference Defensive Player of the Year after tallying 39 tackles, three sacks and 12 tackles for loss this season. Levi posted 23 tackles, three sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss in 2012 as a freshman.

Levi is expected to graduate in May and will have three seasons to play two, beginning the the fall.

Atoe, a linebacker/safety hybrid, also enjoyed his time in Lubbock.

"The family environment is what stood out the most on the visit, the bond they have between the coaches and the players, and then just between the whole coaching staff," Atoe said. "Every single person was welcoming and they treated us well."

Atoe, 6-0, 215 pounds, was a Northern California Conference first-team defense selection after racking up 41 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and a blocked punt. He also averaged 29.7 yards per kickoff return.

"We went over our academics, met with our academic advisers and what we would be doing," said Atoe, who plan on majoring in landscaping. "Then we met up with our position coaches, got in a room, watched some film and went over what our roles would be on the team. It went well, I like coach (Mike) Smith."

Atoe added that defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt was "cool" and had heard good things about him from San Mateo inside linebackers coach Hansen Sekona, who played for Wallerstedt at Kansas State.

Atoe didn't offer up who is in the lead for his services, but liked Texas Tech's approach.

"They weren't pressuring me or squeezing me or anything," Atoe said. "They were pretty easy about it, pretty smooth. They just kept telling me that they need me, they don't have a lot of kids like me."

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