Four-star DT verbal Toki believes in WSU

IT WAS A BIT of a homecoming this weekend for four-star defensive tackle Thomas Toki. The Washington native, who moved to California in the summer, was in Pullman for his official visit to see WSU in the Apple Cup. He said that he was disappointed in the outcome, but that his verbal to WSU was strengthened. Why, you ask? Because he said he knows the Cougs are moving in the right direction. And ...

The Cougs lost to UW on Saturday night and less than 24 hours later, defensive coordinator Mike Breske and outside linebackers coach Paul Volero were let go. But Toki didn’t mince words when asked where his commitment level with WSU stood following the weekend.

Toki, a member of the 300 and the No. 23-ranked DT in the nation, said he is all in with Washington State.

“Look, Saturday was a tough loss, but win or lose, Wazzu is in the process of building right now,” Toki said. “They just got done with the new facilities and they’re recruiting great players. That’s all part of it.

“WSU will be a Rose Bowl contender in about two years. When I was up there and I spoke with the coaches -- you can tell they’re confident in what they’re building. The players are young, so it’s just taking time. I’m excited for the future and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”

ENTERING HIS VISIT, Toki (pictured above, right, with T.J. Fehoko) said his main focus was to reconnect with the coaching staff and hang out on campus with some of the other recruits. The No. 4-ranked d-tackle prospect in the West by said he has long had a close connection with his future position coach, Joe Salave’a.

“We talked a lot before the game,” Toki said of meeting with Big Joe. “We sat in his office and we went over a lot of the plays. He was showing me the scheme and how I would fit in. I’m very excited to play for him.”

When asked about his reaction to the coaching changes at WSU last night, Toki said, “"I feel sorry for them, but if it benefits the team, then let it be.

"I don’t know much of what’s going on inside, but only Coach Leach can handle that. I just do what I can do and play the game. It doesn’t affect my commitment. What would affect my commitment is if (something would have happened to) Joe Salave’a... then I’d decommit, but they’re not going to do that. They’re smart to not let go of a good coach like him."

Another person Toki spent a lot of time over the weekend with fellow visitor Fehoko, his cousin who is committed to Colorado. There was another recruit he enjoyed talking football with as well.

“I was with T.J. and Adam McLean (four-star DT) quite a bit,” Toki said. “We were talking a lot about us all playing together up here and how we could help the defense out. I really hope both those guys commit and play with me here.

“I know Adam liked it a lot and so did T.J. I’m going to keep on recruiting them and get them to be Cougs and get this defense up and running.”

EXPERENCING THE NEW FACILITIES at Washington State for the first time blew the 6-1, 290-pounder away.

“Oh man, it was super nice,” Toki said. “They have a game room and the weight room was awesome. I like how they set up the nutrition program, too. It was basically all you can eat for us (laugh). The coaches told us that they’ll be taking care of us next year too with food and making sure we eat right.”

The trip went so well, Toki added, that he can't wait to make a return trip to Pullman in the summer. Then, it will be for good, as he expects to arrive in late July and to start summer classes and winter conditioning.

“I basically just went up there this weekend to see the coaches,” Toki said. “I’ve always been solid to Washington State since I committed. Going up there and seeing everything definitely strengthened my commitment. I already knew that when I picked them, it was the right decision for me. That won’t change.”

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