BREAKING: Bay Area DT goes crimson

HE FACED CONSTANT double teams this past season, and yet still earned his league's Defensive Player of the Year award along with multiple first team honors on the other side of the ball. Indeed, his athleticism and agility is such that some schools even offered him -- at 275 pounds -- at tight end. But he'll arrive at Washington State ready to do what he does best, crack pads on the d-line.

Kalafitoni Pole, who goes by Toni, loved his official visit to Washington State this past weekend. He becomes the 22nd known verbal commitment in the Cougars' 2010 class.

"I called the head coach and committed to Washington State," said Pole, out of Union City, Calif. "Today I talked to the other coaches that were recruiting me and let them know."

Senior season defensive stats were unavailable but Pole (6-2.5, 275, 4.89) was a standout d-end (and tight end) this past season at James Logan High. He was named the Defensive Player of the Year in his conference despite the fact, "Pole required constant double teams," according to Bay Area beat writers.

He also picked up multiple first team honors for his work at tight end, where in 10 games he had 18 catches for 529 yards (29.4 avg.) with 6 touchdowns.

POLE IS EXPECTED to develop into a defensive tackle at Wazzu but his skills coming off the edge give the Cougs some extra versatility if they choose to move him around at times.

"I'll play d-line at Washington State. I move around a lot. Other schools were recruiting me for tight end but I'll be playing d-line at WSU. They said they liked what they saw, and that they recruit people from the neck up...people that work hard, who are mentally tough and smart," said Pole.

POLE SAID HE liked the idea of going to school in a college town, a place where it's all about education and football.

"Academically, it's top notch, and it doesn't get much better than the support systems they have there. I like the camaraderie on the team there... They're like brothers out there. It's a good place for me to succeed in life," said Pole.

His decision was also in large part about Paul Wulff and the Cougar coaching staff.

"I love how they coach," said Pole. "Me and coach (Malik) Roberson had some good talks and went over some of my game film when I was there and he told me I can be a great player. He said that I have some things to work on -- and that's a good thing in that I'm a good player and still have some things to work on. He said I had a natural ability to shed blocks, maintained my gaps and that I did my job well, because it's not a single player that shines it's the defense that shines."

Pole chose Washington State over offers from Utah, Wyoming and others. He was seeing interest from Arizona State and most of the Pac-10. His two top choices came down to Washington State and Utah. He tripped to Utah previously but after his visit to WSU, he said his decision was clear.

"They were one of the earliest to recruit me, and I think they were the third offer I got. I made the decision based on the fact I can really focus there and make something of myself," said Pole.

Pole is also rock solid in the classroom and has achieved a qualifying score on the SAT.

NOTABLE NOTES:
Pole was named first team Mission Valley Athletic League at defensive end, and the MVAL Defensive Player of the Year, second team all East Bay and second team Metro (Bay Area). Offensively, he was named first team tight end in the MVAL and on the all-East Bay squad. He helped lead Logan to field one of the top run defenses in all the Bay Area.

In addition to PoleWSU's known verbal commits from the Greater Bay area are WR Kristoff Williams, OT Wade Jacobson, RB Rickey Galvin, WR Robert Jiles, CB Tracy Clark, ATH Deone Bucannon, and DB Damante Horton. For the complete list of the Cougs' 2010 class. For the complete list of the Cougs' 2010 class, CLICK HERE.


Cougfan Top Stories