While it may not have the talent level as in years past, the defensive tackles in California still…
Toa takes in official to Ole Miss
"They really give me a lot of insight into the game," stated the well spoken Toa Tuitea. "They are always giving me pointers about this and that. They pretty much go to all of my games and help me break down the film. It makes the game that much easier when you have someone so close to you that is so knowledgeable."
Toa was named the 2006 Golden West League Defensive Player of the Year and All-CIF despite missing several games due to a shoulder injury. He finished the year with 42 tackles, 6 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles.
What does Tuitea do best on the field?
"I think I play the run well. The sacks will always come around, but my main focus is to keep my assignments and stop the run."
Does that mean that defensive tackle could be in the future for this honor roll student?
"I do not know. I am about 6' 4", 240 right now. My older brothers were in the 260 range. Blocking wise, I am pretty good at tight end, but I am a little more experienced at defensive end."
This season Toa is off to a solid start as he has collected 11 tackles, 2 sacks, 15 yards for loss, and 3 caused fumbles.
"I am pretty happy with my season so far, personally, but team wise, we are off to a 1-2 start so we have to pick it up."
Toa had a chance to take in his first official visit this past weekend and came away impressed.
"My older brother, Calvin Silver, came with me. He loved it. The atmosphere was great. As soon as we stepped out of the car, he was like wow, this place is great. He loved the Southern hospitality."
"Personally, I had never seen anything like it. I went to the Ole Miss/Florida game. It was packed, and the players told me after the game that what I saw was nothing. It gets much louder and more packed than that. I had never experienced anything like that. I was dumb founded."
Toa did not know much about the Rebels before he came on the visit but learned plenty by the time he left.
"I got to see all of the history around it. Ole Miss has been around since the Civiil War. They have a lot of tradition at Ole Miss. It was very interesting."
There was one thing that stood out over everything else.
"The people. Everyone had a smile on their face and greeted you. Everything is about Ole Miss football down there."
Tuitea's player host was a person from his home state.
"Jonathan Cornell was my host. I knew about him when he played over here. He was very nice, very humble person. He gave me some advice to keep working hard. Jonathan is a very cool guy. He told me that he is going to keep in touch with me."
Ole Miss has made the state of California a recruiting priority since Coach Orgeron left the Southern Cal program and took over the head coaching duties at Ole Miss.
"I knew about Coach O when he was out here (at USC). He had a reputation of being a great DL coach with a attitude, very energetic. He is the same way at Ole Miss as he was at USC. Very intense and really wants to win big."
"It did surprise me when I got over there and saw so many California guys on their team. I thought it would be all Mississippi kids. I was like, wow, this is a trip. They all love it down there."
The atmosphere made the overall trip better than expected.
"It was a lot better than what I was expecting. It is a different type of atmosphere. You never get that type of atmosphere in California."
Where does this visit put the Rebels?
"Right now, they are in my Top 3, maybe Top 2, after seeing what I saw."
Who else consist of Toa's top 3?
"Hawaii, and I am thinking about Washington State right now."
Which colleges have now offered?
"Ole Miss, Hawaii, Colorado State, New Mexico State, Nevada, Vandy, and San Diego State."
What stands out about Hawaii?
"My cousin says nothing but good things about them. He lives out there. And I love to watch them play on TV. I just like their style of play."
And Washington State?
"The weather is cold up there. I love cold weather. I also like their strength and conditioning coach. I hear he is the best in the country, but that is just what I hear."
Toa has set up an official visit to Hawaii in early December and will wait until the season is over to schedule his other visits.
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