17 scholarship offers and counting

This week Duke became scholarship offer No 17 for Rialto (Calif.) four-star junior linebacker Lokeni Toalioa. But out of 17 schools, one is recruiting the hardest.

RIALTO, Calif. — Carter junior linebacker Lokeni Toailoa has 17 scholarship offers, with his last coming Sunday night from Duke.

For most prospects, their junior season is the point in time when college coaches take notice and scholarship offers are earned. With a multitude of options already in hand and college coaches stopping by Carter to watch him play, Toailoa is putting the blinders on.

“I took a little step back from recruiting because my main focus is trying to in games here with my team, just like all of the college coaches are doing with their teams,” said Toailoa. “I plan on doing what I did last year and steeping it up a notch and just competing.

“Coming into this season, we have a lot of returners. We only lost three or four guys from last season. We just set the bar high as a team. We knew what we were capable of. We still haven’t reached it thus far into the season. We’re just trying to get better each and every day.”

Friday, Carter made quick work of Citrus Valley 44-3 with Toailoa scoring a touchdown and a two point conversation on short runs. He also had eight tackles, bringing his total on the five game season to 34.

As a member of the Ground Zero passing circuit team, Toailoa has used the off season to dial down the speed of the game in pads.

“Well, passing league, it definitely slows Friday nights down,” said Toailoa. “Passing league, we’re going up against some of the top guys in the country. The Friday night speed doesn’t quite match the seven-on-seven speed, so it definitely slows down the Friday nights.

“It helps my athleticism… really being able to make plays and run sideline to sideline. It definitely helps with all of that.”

However, after an illegal peel back block on one particular play, Toailoa was left looking up at the Friday night lights. To his credit, he popped back up and kept playing.

“He got me,” laughed Toailoa. “I take my hat off to him. I was chasing the quarterback and didn’t see him. But freshman year — of my first varsity game — I was on special teams and someone hit me and I flew five yards away, so that’s only the second biggest hit.”

With Carter’s homecoming being this weekend, Toailoa didn’t see any big hits in person from USC or UCLA Saturday. However, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker did attend the USC-Oregon State game the week before.

“USC had a lot to prove this year having a new coaching staff coming in from U-Dub and kind of changing the offense,” said Toailoa. “I like what they’ve been doing so far despite the Boston College loss. I like what they’ve been doing offensively and defensively.”

While Toailoa grew up a USC fan and flashed his Trojan gear Friday night, his coaches say UCLA is the school recruiting him the hardest.

“It’s pretty much the same with UCLA,” said Toailoa. “I still make sure to call them. I’m busy and they’re even busier. I try to call them every week or every two weeks. When I’m at the games I make sure to let them know I’m there.

“With both UCLA and USC, it’s pretty much the same thing. They ask how am I doing, what workouts I’ve been going to, pretty much the same thing it has been.”

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