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Cal Football

Bear Insider Video: Lone Toailoa

March 13, 2018

2017 was the year of international recruits for Cal, as the Bears signed several players with international roots, including Auckland, New Zealand native defensive lineman Lone Toailoa.

As is the case with many kiwi athletes, Toailoa got his start playing rugby at a young age in New Zealand, where all his family and relatives currently reside.

"I grew up playing rugby, starting at 5," said Toailoa. "I took a bit of a gap then took it up again in high school."

Interesingtly enough, Toailoa's interest in American football started at an early age when his brother brought home a Madden Football video game and the native New Zealander was hooked at the age of 7.

After graduating high school, Toailoa, with the encouragement of some of his coaches, decided to pursue his dream of playing collegiate football in America -a dream that came to fruition with the assistance of many friends and relatives along the way after he decided to transition to Mount San Antonio College in Valencia after some time off, earning junior college All-American honors in his two seasons there. 

With his unique timeline and background, Toailoa will be 23 by the time he dons a blue and gold jersey in the 2018 season for the Bears.

What type of player is Cal getting in Toailoa?

"Lone's a very physical player," said former Mt. San Antonio College defensive coordintor Iona Uiagalelei. "Smart. He understands blocking schemes, so he knows how to attack it in the run and pass.

"Lone -for a guy that just started playing football, he's picked up the game really fast.

"When he first came here, he didn't know anything about football. He didn't know how to get off a block or how to use his hands so he greyshirted his first year.

"But it paid off. We worked long hours offseason to get him ready and he really deserves everything he gets. He's very coachable and very likeable.

"Here at Mt. SAC, we work a lot with hands and how to read a block, knowing how to make contact and escape as quick as possible to make a play. He does a great job of doing that. He's physical and brings his rugby experienence to his tackling.

So far, the transition to Cal has gone well for Toailoa.

"It's going pretty well," said Toailoa. "It's a big transition from junior college at Mt. SAC. The academics are a lot harder -a lot of work.

"I'm getting a lot of help from academic advisors and tutors here, just adjusting and getting comfortable.

"The University of California is the top public university in the world. That's something that my parents take a lot of pride in and I take a lot of pride in moving on in the future, knowing that I have a degree from here."

To view Toailoa's comments in full, use the embedded viewer below:

Discussion from...

Bear Insider Video: Lone Toailoa

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MB, I'm really enjoying the interviews. These players seem really grounded and ready for the riggers of the classroom and the field. Thanks!
puget sound cal fan
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Lone's video shows a tough, determined and skilled DE, who can find the ball carrier and put a sure tackle on him. He can also run. Lone could be a a real contributor in the D-line rotation.
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He seems mature and thoughtful as one would expect of a man his age. He appears to be in control of his life and is exactly where he wants to be. A couple of questions related to the interview....You said in your interview that he had put on 20 good pounds. Is he now 300lbs? He looks quite trim. Is he 6'3" as posted?
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If he's been playing rugby since his early youth, he is one player we will not have to worry about missing tackles. He already knows how to read ballcarriers movements, and coupled with what the Mt. SAC coaches, said, this guy is likely to be a great addition.
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He's 6'3. He'd gotten down to 265 before arriving and is now up to @285 and will probably be more like 295 for the season.
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I taught high school in Auckland from l979-86 and helped introduce American gridiron to the area eventually forming 6 teams and getting help with donations from BYU and my own high school in the States for equipment. It was an amazing experience to transition young men from rugby and soccer to football. Blocking and passing were both big hurdles, along with tackling as Lone mentions. I saw so much talent while there and of course the All Blacks and rugby has always drawn the best, but several of our players sought scholarships in the States and were successful. I am so excited for another Kiwi to join the Bears since I took out NZ citizenship myself and can't wait to cheer Lone and his family on while at Cal!
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