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Welcome to Houston Henry To’oTo’o

zshawn10

All Pro
6. HENRY TO’OTO’O | Alabama 6010 | 227 lbs. | 4SR Sacramento, Calif. (De La Salle) 1/5/2001 (age 22.31)

BACKGROUND: Henry To’oTo’o (TOE-oh-TOE-oh), who is the second-oldest of eight children, is of Samoan and Tongan descent and grew up in south Sacramento (also spent two years in Utah). His father (Iese), who played linebacker in high school and had an offer from San Diego State before off-field trouble, started training Henry and his brothers at a young age and used football as a way to keep them away from gang-related trouble. To’oTo’o attended Burbank High School in Sacramento as a freshman before his family moved to the Bay Area so he could attend De La Salle High School, a private Catholic school east of Oakland. He originally started on the JV squad as a sophomore before he was called up to varsity, where he was teammates with Isaiah Foskey and his older brother (Sos). To’oTo’o played both ways as a linebacker and running back in his three seasons on varsity. As a senior captain, he finished with 76 tackles, 17.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks, adding 489 rushing yards (8.9 yards per carry average) and three touchdowns on offense. To’oTo’o led De La Salle to a 12-1 record with its lone loss coming in the state championship game against Mater Dei (he played the game with a broken left foot that he suffered in practice). He won numerous All-American awards and was named the 2018 Defensive Player of the Year in California (Kayvon Thibodeaux won the award the year prior).

A four-star recruit, To’oTo’o was the No. 3 outside linebacker in the 2019 recruiting class (No. 44 recruit nationally) and the No. 7 recruit in California (second-highest ranked defender behind Thibodeaux). He received dozens of offers throughout his junior and senior years before whittling down his choice to Alabama, Tennessee or Washington. To’oTo’o was considered a strong Alabama lean, but that changed when defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi (De La Salle alum) left to join the Cleveland Browns’ coaching staff. On signing day, he committed to Tennessee partly because of his connection with head coach Jeremy Pruitt and Director of Player Development Kevin Simon (De La Salle alum). After two seasons with the Volunteers, To’oTo’o decided to enter the transfer portal in January 2021 after Pruitt’s dismissal. He chose Alabama over Ohio State and several other top programs. To’oTo’o graduated with his degree (December 2020). He accepted his invitation to the 2023 Senior Bowl.

STRENGTHS: Instinctive player and keys quickly ... excellent twitch in his lower body to trigger-and-go ... stays on his toes to quickly redirect and make open-field stops ... plays decisively and quickly accelerates, which expands his range ... veteran football sense to be in the right spot or leverage gaps with his pursuit angles ... sees through climbing blocks to navigate all the moving parts ... fearless tackler and attacks with teeth ... highly trustworthy, and teammates say he is an extension of head coach Nick Saban on the field ... raised in the Polynesian culture, and family and faith are the most important parts of his life (his father is ordained in the Church of Latter Day Saints) ... versatile experience, playing weakside backer at Tennessee before moving inside at Alabama ... started 50 games in his career, averaging 7.1 tackles per start.

WEAKNESSES: Maxed-out body type and lacks ideal length, which often shows on tape ... not a powerful tackler with average-at-best finishing strength ... needs to show better patience when settling his feet as a tackler ... guilty of too many fly-by or shoe-lace tackle attempts in space ... hasn’t been a playmaker in coverage ... needs to do a better job sniffing out pass lanes before throws are by him ... didn’t miss a game in college but cracked the fifth metatarsal on his left foot prior to his final game in high school (December 2018).

SUMMARY: A two-year starter at Alabama, To’oTo’o played MIKE linebacker in Nick Saban’s multiple scheme and was responsible for all the defensive calls. After leading Tennessee in tackles as a sophomore, he transferred to the Tide and quickly established himself as both the sparkplug and conscience of the defense, totaling 206 tackles over his two seasons in Tuscaloosa. To’oTo’o doesn’t know how to play slow and covers a ton of ground thanks to his diagnose skills and reaction quickness. He can be inconsistent as a take-on player, especially vs. climbing blocks, and he needs to improve his feel for passing lanes in zone coverage. Overall, you wish To’oTo’o were longer, bigger and stronger, but he is a right place-right time type of player because of his instinctive run fits and play range. He has the football smarts and trigger to see the field on defense as an NFL rookie.

GRADE: 3rd-4th Round (No. 99 overall)
 

powda

The bridge between stupid and useless is short.
2/2 always stood out to me when I watched Bama. Needs to add some weight but I like this pick a lot.
 

Texansphan

Football connoisseur
Not a bad idea to pick up a 1st team ALL SEC MLB. Not a bad idea to grab as many Alabama defenders as you can. Can’t wait to see DeMeco and staff mold these LBs into the best version of themselves!

Also excited to have Perryman mentor him this season.
Yeah this late in the draft you're looking at big school guys and BPA for value.
 

leebigeztx

Keep it Movin!
To'o To'o can learn behind Perryman who is on a 1 year deal. You have to layer young guys behind 1 yr guys. Good strategy. Henry is a small mike, but we've seen small guys like Donnie Edwards and Kendriks play well being small at mlb. Harris is a wb and maybe the mike in obvious passing downs. I really like the draft personally, Scruggs and Patterson gives them depth inside and the loser will backup up both guard spots.
 

TheRealJoker

Hall of Fame
To'o To'o can learn behind Perryman who is on a 1 year deal. You have to layer young guys behind 1 yr guys. Good strategy. Henry is a small mike, but we've seen small guys like Donnie Edwards and Kendriks play well being small at mlb. Harris is a wb and maybe the mike in obvious passing downs. I really like the draft personally, Scruggs and Patterson gives them depth inside and the loser will backup up both guard spots.
To’o To’o can also work into the rotation on obvious passing downs. I can’t think of a better situation for him to start his career.
 

CloakNNNdagger

Hall of Fame
A leader and a teacher [a captain, not in college, but in HS.......although he had all the necessary traits to see that role in college].

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Jordan Battle explains the value of having a 'genius' in Henry To'o To'o on defense
Kaiden Smith•09/21/22
https://twitter.com/kaiden__smith

Henry To’o To’o transferred to Alabama from Tennessee in 2021, and made an immediate impact for the Crimson Tide. To’o To’o enters his second season as the Tide’s middle linebacker, the leader of the defense tasked with calling out plays and making sure everybody on the field knows their assignment. Teammate and safety Jordan Battle talked about To’o To’o, and his contributions to their defense.

“You have to be a genius in the Alabama defense to even be at the middle linebacker position,” Battle said. “So seeing Henry progress coming from Tennessee, he’s been a great guy, a great addition to our defense.”

To’o To’o’s numbers speak for themselves, as he’s currently Alabama’s third-leading tackler three weeks into the season, and led the team in tackles a season ago with 113. He earned All-SEC second team honors, and made a multitude of award watchlists heading into the season including the Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy, and Butkus Award watch lists.

The on-field production and off-field recognition is great, but Battle also spoke about To’o To’o’s strengths in communicating with others on the field and his help in developing Alabama’s younger linebackers of the future.

“He’s been getting the d-line right, getting the linebackers right. Young guys in the linebacker room going to him every day, guys like Shawn Murphy, guys like Deontae Lawson, just going to him and being able to teach them and being able to keep the DBs intact with him has just been a great thing, great addition,” Battle said.

To’o To’o may not be one of the more tenured players on Alabama’s roster, but his leadership and impact are evident, as he’s setting up their defense for current and future success.
 

TheRealJoker

Hall of Fame
A leader and a teacher [a captain, not in college, but in HS.......although he had all the necessary traits to see that role in college].

*****************************************************************************************

Jordan Battle explains the value of having a 'genius' in Henry To'o To'o on defense
Kaiden Smith•09/21/22
https://twitter.com/kaiden__smith

Henry To’o To’o transferred to Alabama from Tennessee in 2021, and made an immediate impact for the Crimson Tide. To’o To’o enters his second season as the Tide’s middle linebacker, the leader of the defense tasked with calling out plays and making sure everybody on the field knows their assignment. Teammate and safety Jordan Battle talked about To’o To’o, and his contributions to their defense.

“You have to be a genius in the Alabama defense to even be at the middle linebacker position,” Battle said. “So seeing Henry progress coming from Tennessee, he’s been a great guy, a great addition to our defense.”

To’o To’o’s numbers speak for themselves, as he’s currently Alabama’s third-leading tackler three weeks into the season, and led the team in tackles a season ago with 113. He earned All-SEC second team honors, and made a multitude of award watchlists heading into the season including the Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy, and Butkus Award watch lists.

The on-field production and off-field recognition is great, but Battle also spoke about To’o To’o’s strengths in communicating with others on the field and his help in developing Alabama’s younger linebackers of the future.

“He’s been getting the d-line right, getting the linebackers right. Young guys in the linebacker room going to him every day, guys like Shawn Murphy, guys like Deontae Lawson, just going to him and being able to teach them and being able to keep the DBs intact with him has just been a great thing, great addition,” Battle said.

To’o To’o may not be one of the more tenured players on Alabama’s roster, but his leadership and impact are evident, as he’s setting up their defense for current and future success.
His football IQ is evident in his play. Makes that 4.6 speed look like 4.4 because he doesn’t waste movement or make wrong decisions. Reminds me in some ways of that Alabama MLB that used to play for the Texans.

Very excited to add him to the mix. I think he’ll be around awhile and DeMeco will bring out the best in him and Harris.
 

CloakNNNdagger

Hall of Fame
This is a great background article about the young man published last year. He's essentially been injury free through college. And try not to worry when you read about the "foot injury" mentioned in the article that he sustained. It was not a Lisfranc, it was a Jones fracture which required the screw.........and that occurred his senior year in HS..............with no problems with it since. I believe we've picked up a "small" asset that Demeco can weaponize! :sumo:

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Why Henry To’oto’o deemed Tennessee the perfect fit as his next home
PITTSBURG, Calif. — Where had the time gone?

Jeremy Pruitt sat down in Tennessee’s film room last June alongside Henry To’oto’o and his father, Iese, at around 9 p.m. near the end of To’oto’o’s first visit to Knoxville.

Kevin Simon joined them. He played at De La Salle High School, just like To’oto’o, and has a claim to the title of the Spartans’ best player ever. Now working in player development for Tennessee, Simon wears orange instead of De La Salle green.

To’oto’o had been interested in Alabama and was doing his due diligence by checking out Tennessee, who had hired Pruitt, the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator, six months earlier.

For the next three hours, the four of them sat in the dark. Pruitt showed the To’oto’os film from Alabama, explaining how his defense worked and how he could use Henry within it. At Tennessee, To’oto’o would mostly play weak-side inside linebacker, with a chance to play some Mike linebacker. Pruitt needled To’oto’o with questions along the way, feeling out the five-star linebacker’s football IQ. Eventually, Tennessee’s staff told To’oto’o he’d have a chance to start as a true freshman.

Pruitt’s eyebrows were raised when To’oto’o picked up concepts as quickly as Pruitt could teach them. He moved on to some film cutups of Tennessee’s spring practice, explaining the differences between what the Tide could run with their personnel versus the brand of 3-4 defense Tennessee would be playing.

To’oto’o and his father had never met Pruitt before that weekend. Pruitt saw a player he could teach concepts to and explain how he could fit. So he did exactly that.

“This guy is wired up like a scientist,” Iese To’oto’o said.

Pruitt also took aim at Henry To’oto’o’s own tape. He offered a frank assessment: To’oto’o’s aggressiveness and ability jumped off the screen. But, often, he’d read an opposing offense and pause. He’d overthink instead of reacting. He had to improve there, along with a few minor technique tweaks Pruitt pointed out.

“He already had started teaching my son,” Iese To’oto’o said. “And we haven’t even talked about commitment.”

It made Henry feel like he impressed Pruitt. At the same time, it gave him a glimpse of how much more he had to learn and how eager Pruitt was to teach him.

The Vols had camp at 7 the next morning. When the clock struck midnight, Simon alerted his head coach.

“(Pruitt) was like, ‘Well, man, I could keep going,’” Iese To’oto’o said.

One thing was clear as the To’oto’os returned to their hotel. Iese turned to his son and laughed.

“Man, that was crazy,” he said. “You’d fit in well here.”

For the first time, Tennessee had a real chance to be Henry To’oto’o’s new home.

Henry To’oto’o’s grandfather brought his family to the mainland from American Samoa. When he moved, he registered his new family name as To’oto’o, his father’s first name. The correct pronunciation is TOE-oh, TOE-oh.

Iese and Rima To’oto’o had their first son, Sos, when they were still teenagers. Henry followed. The To’oto’os have had six more kids, with a toddler named Hercules as the youngest. The others are Ieseline, Elenoa, Tiute, Bill and Fia.

Henry got his name from an uncle, Henry Falonga, who was a mentor to Iese, and a great grandfather, Henry Roberts, who was adopted by an English family and played international rugby.

Henry, who is half Tongan and half Samoan, spent most of his early life in south Sacramento.

“It was a bad area,” Iese To’oto’o said. “It felt like people who got in trouble with the law, whatever that might be, here in the Bay Area migrated out there.”

By the time Iese’s oldest sons were in school, he would take them to the park for workouts that have become a family tradition. By now, even the family’s youngest kids are well-acquainted with the speed, agility and football drills, doing their own version when the family heads to the nearby field. From March to December, it was a common ritual, one that lasted nearly two hours.

Years ago, Iese apologized to his son. Their relationship was built around the game they loved — too much in his view. But it serves as a central meeting point for both. It always has.

Iese saw the natural ability in Henry and sought to direct it. He had football dreams of his own, but he says his own “bad decisions” fueled by his “quick temper” plus a child at 18 meant he had more pressing matters at home. Playing college football wasn’t possible anymore.

“Him pushing me, I feel like that kind of shaped me into who I am now,” Henry said. “Seeing him go through his struggles and then him telling me that, you know, football is the key to education. So we’re going to use football to get your free education. So that’s kind of how we’ve used football as a tool.”

Every day, Iese wakes up around 4:30 and makes the pre-dawn, 30-mile commute to Oakland, where he’s a mechanic on large machinery. Rima spends her days caring for the children at home.

Iese is also ordained in the Melchizedek Priesthood in the Mormon Church. Henry is ordained in the Aaronic Priesthood, which is placed upon “worthy” men in the church ages 12-17.

During spring break earlier this year, Rima found herself shivering in bed with what the family thought was a bad flu. By Tuesday, Henry found himself talking his mom out of bed.

“We need to go to the hospital,” she said.

Rima, who never wanted her son to miss a workout, pleaded with him that they could wait until later in the day.

“No, we’re going now,” he said.

They ended up in the hospital overnight. The next day, Iese made a quick trip home to tend to the rest of the kids and grab a shower and some food. He had barely gotten home when the doctors gave Rima and Henry distressing news back at the hospital. She needed surgery immediately.

With a lump growing in her throat, Rima paused her recounting of the story and gestured to Henry to finish.

“When she had to go into surgery, I was still the only one there,” Henry said.

He called his dad with an update.

“I said, ‘Henry, God loves you and wants you to share this moment with your mom. This is your moment with your mom. It’s meant to happen this way. Be there for her. Make sure you comfort her. Make sure she feels confident,’” Iese said.

Traditionally, before a medical procedure of that magnitude, a Melchizedek priest in the family would give the blessing. Instead, that responsibility fell to Henry. He comforted his mother, laid his hands on her head and prayed aloud.

“It was special,” Rima said.

For the To’oto’os, it was another benchmark moment in the growth of their son. It was a trying moment for the family. It was a moment that told Iese’s mind what his heart already knew: Henry had grown up and was ready to leave home as a man.

When Henry signed with Tennessee, the family began looking at purchasing a home in Knoxville and moving everybody 2,000 miles away. Henry stopped them. He wanted to go alone. And he wanted to still have somewhere to return to in California, a state that, save for a couple of years in Utah, he’s called home.

De La Salle head coach Justin Alumbaugh was still trying to get a feel for his new team during a summer workout when an assistant jogged across the field.

The assistant was in charge of the JV team, but he had a request. He told Alumbaugh he needed to get a closer look at this new sophomore, Henry To’oto’o. His older brother, Sos, was playing varsity, and Alumbaugh’s assistant had a warning.

“He’s gonna kill people if he’s on JV,” the assistant said.

The To’oto’os had moved from Sacramento on the recommendation from a cousin who raved about De La Salle’s education and football program. Alumbaugh made his way over to the other side of the field and needed to see only one play before he pulled To’oto’o off the field.

“Hey, I’m going to try you on the other side of the field with varsity, but just do what you were doing there,” Alumbaugh told his new player.

It took one more play before Alumbaugh’s JV coach stopped watching. There wasn’t a decision to be made.

To’oto’o had yet to be indoctrinated by De La Salle’s intense offseason program, and even though he was a 6-footer, he was still south of 180 pounds. He played well as a sophomore, though he struggled against some of the larger, better competition.

A year later, a stronger, heavier To’oto’o began a season that cemented his status as a five-star prospect in the 2019 class, as he led the team in sacks.

“He was the backbone of our team. That guy was the leader,” said Beaux Tagaloa, a cousin, close friend and teammate of To’oto’o who signed with San Jose State this year.

The two grew up alongside each other from the time they were toddlers, engaging in more than a few “Madden” battles, with To’oto’o preferring the Panthers and controlling middle linebacker Luke Kuechly on every play.

To’oto’o was named a unanimous captain as a senior and reprised his two-way role as star linebacker and running back, playing offense when needed. He might carry the ball once against an overmatched opponent. Or, in national showcase games like last year’s nationally televised 27-21 win against Bishop Gorman, he’d turn 15 carries into 130 yards with touchdown runs of 55 and 53 yards.

The Friday night before the Spartans played for the state title against national No. 1 Mater Dei, To’oto’o was casually jogging during a half-speed walkthrough. He made a cut he’d made thousands of times before, but the fifth metatarsal on the outside of his foot cracked. The team went silent and mostly stayed that way for hours while To’oto’o’s injury was being treated.

In a training room, Alumbaugh had a quiet conversation with his star. No one would blame him if he sat. He had a college career to worry about. He’d proven himself over and over again throughout his three years. He couldn’t do further damage to the foot and needed a screw installed, in addition to the plate installed in his shoe, which they weren’t even sure would fit, thanks to the severe swelling overtaking his foot.

“It was like I slapped him in the face,” Alumbaugh said. “He just goes, ‘Coach, I’m F’n playing.’”

Iese still had to sign off on allowing athletic trainers to give his son the painkillers he’d need to have a chance of playing. He did so with reluctance, and at Henry’s insistence.

The next morning, Henry arrived at the team’s quiet, nervous breakfast. No one knew what to expect, and no one wanted to ask the only question anyone had.

Was Henry going to play?

He found a seat with his teammates at breakfast and threw his foot on the table.

“Sorry, boys, I gotta keep it elevated so I can play tonight,” he said with a smile.

Doctors barred To’oto’o from playing offense. Defensively, he was limited. The painkillers wore off after halftime, and by late in the third quarter, Alumbaugh pulled his star for his own sake. To’oto’o was trying, but he wasn’t the same player who could run into the box and throw an offensive lineman into his backfield. He was getting caught on blocks, and the limp got worse and worse.

“After the game, I told him, I would never, ever, ever do that again. I would never do it,” Iese To’oto’o said. “I would rather get 1,000 needles and shove ’em in my eye than watch my son suffer like that again.”

The Spartans lost, but for one last time, To’oto’o won the respect of his teammates. If there was a shred of doubt on the roster whether he deserved to be the guy during the season to restart practice if he didn’t like his teammates’ effort, it was gone.

“We’ve grown together,” Henry To’oto’o said. “I told them I love them, and when I say that, it means I go all in for someone.”

Tennessee’s coaching staff never asked about To’oto’o’s speed or skills when they called or visited De La Salle. They wanted to know more about his personality behind the scenes and his toughness.

Questions about the latter were permanently answered.

Playing football on the West Coast while favoring two SEC schools as a recruit makes life complicated. Campus visits during the season are basically impossible, and To’oto’o knew he needed more time. Signing in December wasn’t going to happen, even as he trimmed his list from “everyone” to Alabama, Washington and Tennessee.

At times during his junior year, he turned off his phone for most of the day and turned it back on when practice and homework were done around 9 p.m. He would be greeted with more than 300 messages.

The first time Alabama coach Nick Saban saw his film, he told Tosh Lupoi, his defensive coordinator, that To’oto’o was “incredible” and he wanted him. Tennessee’s staff reached a consensus: He was one of the best linebacking prospects they’d seen in years.

“Everyone wants attention so when I first got it, I loved it. But then as it time moved on, it got worse. I was kind of tired of everything, I just wanted it to stop,” To’oto’o said. “And then it was just hectic and stressful.”

In the sprint between the early signing period in December and February’s National Signing Day, To’oto’o focused on the decision, but Alabama was a near certainty. The Tide were a power, and Lupoi, a fellow De La Salle alum, had taken the lead on his recruitment and earned the trust of the To’oto’o family.

“The relationship between us and them grew because they’re pretty straightforward. They weren’t trying to sell us nothing. I felt like all the recruiters were trying to sell us their product,” Iese To’oto’o said. “They’re trying to say how better their vacuum was compared to everybody else and pointing out everybody else’s problem. So what they did that stood out was they were just trying to get to know us.”

While every other recruiter told Henry how good he was, Tennessee’s staff focused on the other side of the coin: his flaws and how the Volunteers could coach them out of his game.

In January, Lupoi took a job coaching the defensive line with the Cleveland Browns, shaking up To’oto’o’s recruitment once more.

In the final weeks before signing day, the Alabama and Tennessee head coaches showed up in his living room.

Alabama brought Saban and new defensive coordinator Pete Golding and visited with Henry’s parents while he was at school, spending a couple of hours with Rima and Iese. Tennessee brought Pruitt and To’oto’o’s lead recruiter, Brian Niedermeyer, the 247Sports national recruiter of the year as a rookie position coach.

There weren’t any arguments left to make, just time to hang out. The family watched a Warriors game together before packing up in a few cars with more than a dozen of To’oto’o’s family members to nearby Mel’s Diner, where Henry chatted about his future over his favorite plate of chicken and waffles.

After a lengthy visit that breached four hours, Tennessee’s contingent headed home and the family sat down with a list of pros and cons.

In their minds, Tennessee and Alabama were nearly identical. But the Vols had a connection to De La Salle that Alabama suddenly lacked. To’oto’o had been in Alumbaugh’s office when Simon called for their occasional chat to catch up. Recruiting could wait. They were just old friends. He saw that bond and heard the trust and love in his coach’s voice toward his former player. So when Simon tried to tug him to Knoxville, his words made an impact.

“It’s a brotherhood, it’s like a frat, once you’re in, you’re going to reap the benefits of that, that frat for the rest of your life,” Iese To’oto’o said. “I knew that Kevin Simon understood his struggles and understood all the challenges that he’s been through. I knew that he would not give up on him, regardless of what happens to him if he would leave or whatnot, and he will stay in touch with him. That meant everything.”

Simon was a major point of contact between Tennessee and De La Salle, and he’s also a close friend of Alumbaugh, who coached Simon and played with Lupoi.

When To’oto’o might reference a teacher at his school, Simon or Lupoi might have shared a class with the same teacher.

“That recruiting process can be really overwhelming,” Alumbaugh said. “If you can really find a moment to put an anchor in and you can kind of feel safe and feel a little bit more protected and cared for, I think that goes a long way. And I think that I know, I mean, I talked to Henry about it a lot. I know that that meant a lot to him because it made him feel just more comfortable with the whole thing because it’s a whirlwind.”

Tennessee left the To’oto’o family with a key question: Which school did they trust most with their son’s life for the next four years? Simon and his connection to De La Salle meant the family’s answer was Tennessee.

In the morning, he fielded calls from Saban and Pruitt.

“The night before, I knew I wasn’t going to change my mind,” Henry To’oto’o said. “I’m gonna go to Tennessee and do what I had to do.”

He told Saban the difficult news and thanked him for the opportunity.

“Then he, you know, kind of gave me a little long lecture about how he would benefit me,” To’oto’o said. “But then I just told him straight up and he respected my decision.”

Two hours before he was scheduled to announce his decision on TV, he called Niedermeyer with news he knew the Tennessee assistant would like.

“You’re lying. I don’t believe you,” Niedermeyer told him.

To’oto’o laughed and tried to offer his new coaching staff some assurance.

“We’ll believe it when we see it on ESPN,” Niedermeyer said.

Two hours later, with scores of family surrounding him and multiple leis hanging around his neck, To’oto’o did exactly what he said he would do. In Polynesian culture, leis can have multiple meanings. They can be a gesture of gratitude, a thank you for the time you’ve spent together. They can be a welcome. They can be a celebration of success.

In Henry’s case, all of those applied.

He found his new home.
 

TheRealJoker

Hall of Fame
Eric Kendricks is a great comp for To’o To’o. If he has the same type of career as Kendricks, this is a home run.



Henry To’o To’o, Alabama 4th year - 6-1, 227 lb. Sacramento, CA
#113in the 2023 Harris 200
#6LB in the 2023 NFL Draft Class
• 1st Team All-SEC - 2022
• 2nd on the roster with 94 tackles in 2022 • Racked up 8.0 TFL and 2.5 sacks in 2022
De La Salle HS in Concord, CA
To'o To'o played his high school football at famed DeLaSalle HS in northern California, then starred for defensive guru Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee for the first two years of his career. When Pruitt was rightfully escorted out the door, To'o To'o decided to leave as well and decided on Alabama for the next two years of his career. He's long and rangy with gap filling/run stopping skills. Feet are constantly hot and that keeps him under control seemingly at all times. He is a factor in coverage and the transition into Nick Saban's defense in 2021 didn’t appear difficult at all. Most players entering Alabama’s program need a quick minute to find their mental sea legs, but To’o To’o arrived in Tuscaloosa and hit the ground running. He orchestrated the same defensive scheme at Tennessee and, early in the 2021 training camp, I had it on good authority that HE was already The One calling plays, taking the lead and communicating throughout the entire defense.
He’s fascinating to watch, in many respects, but he seems to be completely in tune to what the opposing offense is running. Against Cincinnati in the 2021 CFP semifinal, the H-back was tucked in nearly directly behind the left tackle. To’o To’o spied that set and started gesturing with his hand, like waving across the formation. He was telling fellow linebacker Christian Harris that the H-back was coming back across the formation on a split flow zone play...and he was dead on correct and the Alabama defense stuffed the play as a result. To’o To’o came back to Alabama in 2022, along with Jordan Battle and DeMarcco Hellams among others to take another run at a championship. That didn’t happen, but To’o To’o showed that he was in full command of the Alabama defense for the second straight season. There’s a prevailing thought in the scouting world that he can handle any defensive scheme and take charge immediately.
He was the personal protector, play caller on the punt team. He’s going to start, wearing the green dot, from day one for an NFL team. He doesn’t have any elite trait, other than one of the most important ones - he’s an alpha leader amongst all the alphas and has an elite football IQ, sharpened along the way at DeLaSalle, Tennessee and Alabama.

Player Comp - Vikings/Chargers ILB Eric Kendricks
 

OptimisticTexan

2024 / Rebuilding Block 4 After Playoffs / Texans
…..but To’oto’to hasn’t finished filling out. He’s 227 pounds coming out of college. I’ve got a feeling that a couple of season’s in NFL Training Rooms and with team Dietitians he’s going to make it to 240+ pounds. He’ll be an NFL sized LB in short order.
 
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Dejaview

All Pro
…..but To’oto’to hasn’t finished feeling out. He’s 227 pounds coming out of college. I’ve got a feeling that a couple of season’s in NFL Training Rooms and with team Dietitians he’s going to make it to 240+ pounds. He’ll be an NFL sized LB in short order.
Could he ever be a Polamalu type safety at his current weight or less?
 

NitroGSXR

Super Sic #58
To’oTo’o pronounced with the letter O in long vowel ie toe toe no? idnk
As some of you know… I’m Deaf. As a result my speech carries a heavy Deaf accent. It’s embarrassing when I mispronounce words so I’ve been practicing pronouncing his name these past couple days.

It’s Toe-oh toe-oh.

It’s a tongue twister for sure. Harder to pronounce than the other new draftees.
 

TheRealJoker

Hall of Fame
Isn't that pretty much about what they said about Ryans?
DeMeco was the superior prospect coming out. SEC Defensive player of the year his final year in college and All American. He was also about 10 lbs bigger.

In the underwear olympics he ran slightly slower than To’o To’o (4.67 vs 4.62) but was more more explosive in vertical (39” vs 32”) and broad jump (10’9” vs 9’8”). DeMeco’s vertical would have been 1st at this year’s combine among LBs and broad jump would have tied for 1st.

DeMeco’s 20 yd shuttle of 4.17 would have ranked 1st among LBs at this year’s combine as well. To’o To’o ran 4.40.

None of this is meant to tear down To’o To’o, but just to remind people just how good a prospect DeMeco was and why he immediately became a factor in the NFL (DROY).


I did not realize DeMeco had tiny hands (8.63”) and arms were smaller (31.38”). To’o To’o has much larger hands (10.25”) and arms (32.25”) which will help with block deconstruction. I have written about here in the past about the success rates of LBs and arm length. The number of LBs with sub 32” arm length that have successful NFL careers is quite small. DeMeco is an anomaly in this regard.


 
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