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FULLERTON, Calif. -- California was the first offer for Rialto (Calif.) linebacker Lokeni Toialoa and now, 12 more offers later, he's the No. 1 linebacker in the 2016 class and a four-star prospect. He's not about to big-time the Bears, though, and on Sunday, he came out to Fullerton College in his Sunday best – a ‘BERKELEY KNOWS' shirt.
"I felt it was appropriate," he smiled. "They were my first offer, so of course, they're pretty special to me. I wanted to come out. I'd only met coach [Rob] Likens prior to this day, and I wanted to come out and meet the whole coaching staff, and familiarize myself with them."
Toailoa said that all of his 13 offers are "pretty equal right now," but what stands out about the Bears is the education.
"What stands out to me are the academics, how it looks, getting a degree from Cal," said the 6-foot-2, 225-pounder.
The Cal offer started a cascade almost immediately for Toailoa.
"I got my second and third the following week, on the same day. I got Washington and Colorado, back-to-back," he said.
What did the Bears see in him back in Februay?
"I'm not really sure, to be honest with you, but I do know that they were the first to take a leap at me, and actually reach out and offer me."
That meant a lot to Toailoa, who Cal likes as a "run stuffer" at middle linebacker, though he'll be playing a bigger role this coming season for Rialto. Basically, he'll just be given the ball and told to hit things, and that's just fine with him.
"I played tight end last year, but we had a running offense, so all I did was block," Toailoa said. "This year, we're changing our offense up. My brother's not playing quarterback anymore. We got a quarterback transfer from Rancho, and we're going to try and get me involved on offense, too, not just defense -- running the ball, everything."
On Sunday, he met linebackers coach Garret Chachere and new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman, the hiring of whom signaled to Toailoa that the Bears meant business.
"They don't like losing. I like that they're going out and trying to get guys to turn their program around," Toailoa said. "I talked to the linebackers coach and the defensive coordinator for about five minutes. They seem pretty straight forward, they know what they're doing."
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