Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou receiver Roby Toma (5-9 ¾, 160), can thank his teammate Dalton Hilliard for being recruited by UCLA.
Hilliard, who committed to UCLA on Monday, had his tape watched by the UCLA coaching staff as they debated offering him. While watching the film, the Bruin coaches noticed a smaller receiver constantly making plays.
“Coach (Norm) Chow said he was watching our tape from our game in Seattle (at the Emerald City Kickoff Classic) and they were watching Dalton and they kept seeing me making plays,” said Toma. “They had asked around about me and then it came out of the blue.”
“It” was an offer from UCLA that floored Toma.
“Coach Chow is one of the best offensive minds ever in the game and when he called me to talk with me, it meant a lot. It was surprising and I was kind of speechless,” said Toma. “I then got to talk with Coach (Rick) Neuheisel he told me that they have a scholarship for me and they were offering me a scholarship to UCLA.”
Toma didn’t immediately commit, but he’s planning to do so in the very near future.
“I wanted to talk to Dalton after he got back from his visit to Arizona because I know he was going to commit to UCLA,” said Toma. “We want to be able to play together in college. He’s one of my close friends. I might be committing this week. I probably will.”
Toma had heard plenty about UCLA from Hilliard and another Punahou prospect the Bruins have targeted, linebacker Manti Te’o.
“Manti and Dalton both went there and they both loved it, so I can’t wait to get out there and take my visit,” said Toma. “But it won’t be coming for a while because we still have games. I’ve never been out there to UCLA but I’ve heard it is nice.”
Toma said the Bruin staff wants to use him in the slot and as a kick returner.
Army has offered Toma, and Utah, Hawaii and New Mexico are all close to offering, but for Toma his decision is likely to happen before they’ll have the chance to, and none are included in the plans.
“This is like a dream come true, to have an offer to play at a major program,” said Toma.
So far in 2008, he has a team-leading 35 receptions for 836 yards and 12 receiving touchdowns. He's got 992 all-purpose yards and is averaging 23.8 yards a catch. His yards per catch and receiving touchdowns lead the state and his yards receiving are second in Hawaii.