Where do things stand with WSU & Thomas Toki?

A LOT HAS CHANGED for WSU commit Thomas Toki in the last year. He’s now a fierce DT in California, enjoying a solid senior season for St. Francis High after transferring from Juanita. What about his commitment level to WSU? Has that changed too, or is he rock solid? CF.C spoke with the four-star prospect to discuss that and much more.

It was last December that Mike Leach and defensive line coach Joe Salave’a got a nice gift for the holidays from a four-star recruit. On Christmas Eve, Thomas Toki called up Salave’a and let him know he wanted to be a Coug.

It’s been 11 months since that commitment and recruiting certainly didn’t stop there for the 6-1, 290-pounder. Toki holds offers from WSU, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah, Vanderbilt, Oklahoma State and others. The phone calls and letters haven’t stopped. Toki before a spring visit to WSU with his mom indicated he was thinking about opening things back up and thought he may have committed too early.

So where’s he at with the Cougs?

“Man, I’m still fully committed to them,” Toki said. “That hasn’t changed at all. I spoke with the coaches two days ago and we’re finalizing the details for my official visit. I’ll be going up there for the Apple Cup. I spoke with Coach Joe Salave’a and Coach Ken Wilson. They said they’re excited to have me come up there and see everything again.”

TOKI IS NO STRANGER to the Palouse, having taken an unofficial visit to the WSU Campus last January while he was still living in Washington and the aforementioned trip in late April. Over the summer, Toki and his mom moved from Kirkland down to Mountain View, Calif., to reunite with Toki’s dad. His father works full time in the Golden State, and being apart proved to be too difficult for the family, the future Coug said.

However, the No. 24 ranked DT in the country said he still considers Washington home, and he’s looking forward to seeing Washington State host UW later this month in the Apple Cup.

“I can’t wait to see the facilities for myself,” Toki said. “When I was over there in January, everything was still being built. I want to see how it looks now that it’s finished. The coaches have told me how great it looks and they are really looking forward to showing me.”

Toki said three other Pac-12 schools are continuing to actively recruit him but at this time he has no other official visits planned. His focus is finishing his senior season with St. Francis High (see Notable Note).

“Arizona State, Oregon State and Utah have been on me for a while and they’re still reaching out,” Toki said. “I’m not sure if I’ll be taking visits there. I’m still keeping them in my head, but they’re king of my back-up plans right now in case something happens at WSU.

“Right now, I’m firmly committed to the Cougs and I don’t see myself decommitting anytime soon. I’m going to ride with them all the way through."

WHEN HE TRIPS to Pullman, Toki said he is looking forward to reconnecting in person with Toni Pole. The WSU senior, who will always be remembered by Cougar fans for his interception in the Apple Cup in 2012, has been a key figure for Toki throughout his recruitment.

“That’s family right there,” Toki said. “He’s my older cousin, but really, he’s like a big brother to me. I feel like I can go to Toni about anything. I reach out to him probably every two weeks. He checks up on me too.

“He always asks me if I’m still committed to the Cougs and to see how I’m doing now that I’m down here in California. To be honest, he’s really one of the main reasons why I committed. He showed me what it means to be a Coug. It’s hard to explain, but they’re a team that fights for their wins and nothing is handed to them.”

You can’t forget about Big Joe either.

“I can’t wait to be coached by him,” Toki said. “He Played n the NFL for 10 years, so he knows what he’s talking about. I want to play for a guy who played at the next level. We have a good relationship and I really have a good relationship with the entire staff. I just have a strong one with him.

“Every week we try and talk. He sends me a lot of quotes to motivate me and push me. It’s stuff that makes me want to finish the day strong and always work hard at whatever I’m doing. He’s a great guy and he has me excited to get up there. He has me excited to be a Coug.”

NOTABLE NOTE:
Toki said he has recorded 39 tackles for St. Francis High this season. The move to California football has done nothing but improve his game, he said. “The competition down here is a lot better than when I was in Washington. In most of our games, I’m getting either double-teamed or triple-teamed. I have to go up against guys who are bigger than what I was used to back home. It’s helped me a lot, though, and I like the competition. It’ll help prepare me for the next level.”


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