This 4-star future Coug isn't looking around

HIS BAGS WERE PACKED back on Friday, Jan. 16 and Thomas Toki was all set to head to Stillwater for his official visit at Oklahoma State. The following week, he would head to Arizona State on another official. But that Friday morning, Washington State defensive line coach Joe Salave’a paid Toki and in-home visit. And Toki realized something.

Toki (pictured right, with T.J. Fehoko) realized he didn't need to be wowed by other college coaches, be wined and dined or check out other college campuses. Toki, ranked four stars by, just wanted to be in Pullman.

“I was going to take those trips and I was actually supposed to fly to Oklahoma State that night that Coach Joe came and saw me," he said. "Coach spoke with my parents about everything, though, and we decided it would be best for me to stay home.

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“I called the coaches to both schools (Oklahoma State and Arizona State) and I cancelled the trips. I’m not going anywhere anymore.”

SALAVE’A AND TOKI, who transferred from Juanita High in Kirkland for his senior season to St. Francis High in Mountain View, Calif., have built a strong relationship over the years.

It began when Toki was a sophomore at Juanita. The 6-1, 292-pounder verbally committed to the Cougs on Christmas Eve in 2013, becoming the first member of Wazzu's 2015 class. The first person he called was Salave'a.

“He’s really been with me since Day One and he helped me realize that it doesn’t make any sense for these other colleges to come in and try and talk me to going to their school,” Toki said. “He’s been straight up with me this whole time.

“When he spoke with my parents (during the in-home visit), he was honest with them as well and let them know I have a great shot of starting as a nose tackle down the road. I trust Coach Joe, too. He’s not like other coaches where they’ll try and get you excited and blindside you with all this good stuff. He’s just a straight up dude.”

TOKI WILL HOST Salave’a again -- as well as head man Mike Leach -- for an in-home visit on Wednesday night. Toki added that he already visited with new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch on an in-home last week. Meeting Grinch was a great experience, the future Coug said.

“I got to speak with him during that in-home visit and you could tell he’s excited about our defense,” Toki said. “It adds to my excitement to get up there as well.

“I’m 100 percent with WSU and I’m going to sign with them (on Feb. 4). The new coaches they’ve brought in (Grinch and linebackers coach Roy Manning) has me even more ready to be a Coug. We’re getting some really good players to commit to us as well, which is great. It all pumps me up.”

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