VERBAL: Leach's big 2015 Pac-12 win on 4-star

THE COUGS UNWRAPPED an early Christmas present Tuesday -- a 4-star 2015 class DT with offers from UCLA, ASU, Oregon State and more has gone crimson. Kirkland's Thomas Toki (6-1, 292) is rated 4-stars and the No. 16 d-tackle prospect nationally in the 2015 class. He tells why he became Mike Leach's first known '15 verbal and about his conversation with his future DL coach, Joe Salave'a.

Washington State chief of staff Dave Emerick told in recent weeks that the Cougs had spent a good amount of time in evaluating the 2015 class.

Well, they've clearly also made considerable in-state progress and gains with highly ranked prospects given today's big crimson recruiting news.

"Coach Mike Leach hit me up on facebook and told me Merry Christmas to me and my family and I told him my Christmas present to them was that I'm commiting to him and Washington State," said Thomas Toki.

Toki, out of Kirkland's Juanita High, then called Leach and d-line coach Joe Salave'a and spoke to them on a three-way call.

"They were really excited, Coach Joe.. he's a great coach and I can't wait to learn from someone like him," said Toki.

TOKI SAID HE didn't come to his decision lightly. He said he's been out to Washington State three times on unofficial visits and he sat down to discuss the decision with his parents before making the call. He said being able to study under Salave'a was a big part of the draw.

"Coach Joe knows what he's talking about and he's played in the NFL," said Toki. "..They're recruiting good (DL) players. When I've been over there, I've seen how well they use their hands and they learned that from Coach Salave'a -- and I want that too."

TOKI, A MEMBER of the 2015 Scout 300 and whose offers apart from Washington State included an SEC school in Vanderbilt plus Pac-12 schools like UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon State, Colorado and Utah, said multiple unofficial trips gave him a good sense of college life at Washington State.

"It was a great atmposphere and so with Coach Salave'a, I think it's a great fit... I'm quick off the ball and they said they like how aggressive I am off the ball -- and that I'm a (team player) who likes celebrating with my teammates on the field," said Toki.

Toki also also said though it's a ways off before he arrives at WSU, he likes that the Cougs under Leach give true freshman the opportunity to compete for early playing time. He mentioned that it will also be nice to just concentrate on playing football at Juanita and not have to worry about recruiting.

"I just wanted to say thanks to the other programs that offered me, that it was a blessing," said Toki.

TOKI CAPTURED first team All King-Co 3A/2A honors as a DT/NG his junior season, the only junior d-lineman to be so named. As a sophomore the previous season , he was also named first team d-line - the only underclassman to make the list. The Seattle Times tabbed him a "difference maker" this fall headed into his junior campaign.

Toki was dominant prior to his junior season in 2013 at the a Barton Combine held back in the spring and earned his WSU and UCLA offers shortly afterwards.

CLICK HERE to see some of that quickness Toki mentioned.

Cougfan Top Stories