Five-Star Linebacker to Visit Tennessee

    by -

    (Photo via @HenryTootoo1 on Twitter)

    The recruiting dead period is less than a month away, so coaches across the country are working to get prospects in to visit their campus or to get them to attend camps before then. The Vols have already hosted several players on visits this month, and they’re set to have one of the top linebackers in the 2019 class come to campus soon.

    Henry To’oto’o is an elite linebacker who plays for De La Salle High School in Concord, California. He was supposed to visit Tennessee last month, but those plans didn’t pan out. But according to an interview with Rivals, he’s expected to be on campus next week in Knoxville.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, To’oto’o is a five-star recruit and is the No. 33 overall player and No. 2 outside linebacker in the 2019 class. Jeremy Pruitt and his staff offered To’oto’o back on Christmas of 2017, and the talented linebacker also holds offers from Alabama, USC, UCLA, Michigan, Florida, Texas A&M, and others.

    Pulling a highly-ranked recruit out of California isn’t easy for east coast teams, even for schools in the SEC. But the Vols have a couple connections here that should play into their favor.

    Tennessee offensive coordinator Tyson Helton comes from the west coast and has experience in California thanks to his time at USC. But the more relevant connection UT has as it pertains to To’oto’o is assistant Kevin Simon. The former Vol linebacker is now on staff in an off-field role with Tennessee, and he played at De La Salle before coming to Knoxville for college. To’oto’o has been in communication with Simon, and the two have formed a relationship.

    “He tells me how live it is down there,” To’oto’o told Rivals about Simon. “It doesn’t get realer than that with what Tennessee has to offer in the SEC. He has told me how great it is.”

    To’oto’o’s highlight film from his junior season shows off his athleticism and elite ability to pursue the ball carrier. He has great agility and is stronger than he looks. He possesses some high level vision and awareness and isn’t easy to stop when he’s intent on reaching either the quarterback or a running back. He’s not bad in the flat on passing downs either.

    The 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker will need to add weight once in college, and that might prevent him from making as big of an immediate impact as other players at his ranking. But the skill is absolutely there, and you can see it on his film. He led De La Salle in tackles last year and looks to be a leader at the prestigious school this year.

    De La Salle has produced tons of talented players over the years, including not only Kevin Simon but also running back Maurice Jones-Drew, wide receiver Amani Toomer, defensive back T.J. Ward, linebacker D.J. Williams, offensive lineman Aaron Taylor, and tight end Austin Hooper among many others. Many believe To’oto’o could be the next big star out of De La Salle, and the Vols are hoping they make a big impact with him during his visit.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.