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May 16, 2013
Tolutau pledges to dream school
Months before Gary Andersen accepted the head coaching position at Wisconsin, Ula Tolutau had a dream school in mind.
"Ula told me in September that his dream school was Wisconsin, and that was long before coach Andersen got the job," Salt Lake City (Utah) East head coach Brandon Matich told BadgerBlitz.com.
Tolutau's dream came true Thursday after he made a verbal commitment to the Badgers. The 6-foot-1, 235-pound athlete is the sixth known member of UW's 2014 recruiting class.
"Ula called me last night before I left for California and said that he wanted to pull the trigger," Matich said. "He said he prayed about it and wanted to make it happen. So I called coach Andersen to see if he was around but he was at a booster or alumni function with his phone on silent.
"So we had to wait until this morning (Friday) and I gave him coach Andersen's number and he committed."
The Wisconsin coaching staff is recruiting Tolutau as an athlete who could play on either side of the ball. Matich describes his senior-to-be as a physical prospect who is also a great leader.
"He's a big, physical, abusive runner with speed," Matich said. "But he's a 4.6 (40-yard dash) guy who's 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds. He runs with great aggression and has a nasty side to him when he straps that helmet on.
"The intangible stuff is also great with Ula, who is humble and a tremendous leader. He doesn't want any attention at all, he wants it all to be on the team and that's part of the reason why he wanted to commit early."
Andersen, in his first year at Wisconsin, is also a big reason for Tolutau's commitment. With four years as the head coach at Utah State and many more coaching in Utah, Andersen has a solid reputation amongst high school coaches in the state.
"Coach Andersen is a guy that Ula wants to play for," Matich said. "He was a huge reason why he committed so soon. I think getting Ula will be huge for them to get more Polynesian kids there. Ula comes from a popular family and he can be a start for them.
"There's not a better coach for Polynesian players than coach Andersen and coach Chad Kauha'aha'a."
Tolutau chose UW over offers from Utah, BYU and Utah State, among others. According to Matich, he's just as impressive of a person off the field.
"Ula helps me take my kids to daycare every morning at 7:30 a.m. and I don't ask him to do it, that's just the kind of kid he is," he said. "He's just a super kid, a super player and a better young man."