Vols and Alabama are Front-Runners for Elite Linebacker

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    (Photo via @HenryTooToo1 on Twitter)

    Earlier this week, Henry To’oto’o, one of the top linebackers in the 2019 class, included the Vols as one of his top five teams in his recruitment. But according to an interview he did shortly after releasing that list of five schools, Tennessee is one of his two front-runners.

    To’oto’o spoke with Brian Marchiano just a few hours after releasing his top five schools, and Marchiano asked him about all five of the schools he included in his list. When asked if Alabama and Tennessee are his top two schools, To’oto’o said that they were and went on to explain why.

    “I loved it down there,” To’oto’o explained. “It was really great down there with Coach Pruitt and Coach Saban, and also Tosh Lupoi down there (at Alabama) and Kevin Simon at Tennessee. It was just going down there and seeing the De La Salle alum.”

    Kevin Simon, a former linebacker for Tennessee, is now an assistant coach in an off-field role for UT. He played at De La Salle High School over in Concord, California, the same high school To’oto’o currently plays at. Because of that, Simon and To’oto’o have developed a strong bond.

    But Simon isn’t the only De La Salle alum who To’oto’o has been in contact with.

    Tosh Lupoi, who was promoted to Alabama’s defensive coordinator position after Tennessee hired away Jeremy Pruitt, also played at De La Salle. In fact, he and Simon were teammates there.

    Both Lupoi and Simon have a unique relationship with To’oto’o, and that has helped set Tennessee and Alabama apart from the other teams currently recruiting the elite linebacker. It’s still expected that in-state schools will hold sway over To’oto’o, but if he does leave the state of California, the SEC seems like a likely destination.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, To’oto’o is the No. 39 overall player and No. 2 outside linebacker in the 2019 class. He’s a borderline five-star prospect according to their rankings.

    You can catch To’oto’o’s full interview with Brian Marchiano here:

    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.