Yes I said Hawaii. How might you asked could they even find a kid 45 minutes west of Atlanta? Well it was a win win for Hawaii and coach Paul Johnson, who was Tolbert's recruiting coach for the Rainbows.(As they were known by then) They probably didn't think they had much of chance with him, but they did know he had a parent that worked for Delta and this would allow them much cheaper travel to come see him play.
" The very first day that schools could call back then UGA called me at 12:15am that night. I just figured I was good to go and was a lock for UGA. Little did I know that they had call 10 kids in front of me and I guess that is why it took them a few minutes to get my phone call."(Laughing)
" I took some game day visits to Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Auburn. I was getting letters daily so I just figured I was good to go at least one of these schools. The first sign of trouble to me was the coaches stop talking to me and not paying much attention on those trips."
"I remember the week before signing day, I had a call that UGA staff member Mac McWhorter was in the office and they needed to see me. I remember walking down the hall thinking finally I am going to get my offer. He came to my school to tell me , he didn't have a offer for me. I was upset, but I did respect the man for coming all the way to my school to tell me in person."
"After realizing my dream to play at UGA was over I turned my focus to 3 schools that had offered me. Hawaii, Georgia Southern and West Georgia( Div II school). My heart was set on playing D1 football so after a visit there late in January I told coach Johnson I was coming there."
" The local paper came out and took pics of me and did a write up on me going to Hawaii the day before signing day."
"The morning of signing day I didn't fax my offer in because of the time difference between Georgia and Hawaii. I did alot of praying the night before and was hoping in someway I would end up at UGA. My Dad just told me to wait until the afternoon before I faxed in the signed papers. I remember the someone paging me to come to office at about 1pm that afternoon and UGA was on the phone. They told me they had a offer for me and I was stunned, but I gladly accepted the offer."
Tolbert went onto UGA and was voted 1st team ALL-SEC Linebacker by the coaches as a Junior. He was drafted in the 7th round by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1998 and spent 3 years in the NFL.
Did I mention Signing Day is only 11 months away?