Will Henry To’oto’o Please Fix Our Defense?

Ryan Robertson Editorials, Recruiting

Henry To’oto’o has been a star at Tennessee. Unfortunately for the Vol’s, the rest of the team hasn’t matched his ability over the last few years and they find themselves in search of a coach. For To’oto’o, that was enough to put his name in the transfer portal. It looks more and more likely that the linebacker might just end up at Oregon, per Justin Hopkins at ScoopDuck.com.

With Hopkins calling his (often correct) shot, Duck fans need to get acquainted with their potential new linebacker.

To’oto’o was a top 50, four star linebacker coming out of De La Salle high school in Concord, California. He chose Tennessee over offers from all over the country, including from nine different Pac-12 schools. In the 2019 recruiting class he was the third rated outside linebacker, but was noted to have the makeup to play either inside or out.

At Tennessee, To’oto’o tallied 140 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery. He earned freshman All-American honors in the 2019 season, and showed a keen ability to read running plays and make secure tackles. He has tremendous closing speed, and has shown ability in coverage.

Troy Dye is a comparable player to Henry To’oto’o.

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The Oregon defense needs To’oto’o. Well, just about every defense needs him, but the Ducks lack the specific skills that he provides. Oregon has a solid defensive line that should improve with enough strength training in the offseason, a secondary among the deepest in the country and a linebacking corps that lacks speed and the ability to tackle.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about how the Ducks have too many holes in their roster for 2021 to be their year. While that still might be true, adding a linebacker that can move from sideline to sideline, tackle in space and read running plays should, at least, put Oregon in a position to beat teams that rely on their run game to win.

If you need a reference athlete, think of Troy Dye. The longtime Duck flashed many of the same abilities that To’oto’o brings to the table, and he was the missing link from one of the best defenses in school history, and the unit that couldn’t stop anyone from running this year.

Hopkins is predicting To’oto’o to Oregon, or at the very least calling the Ducks front-runners. That is good news, as few have the ability to discern when a commitment to the Ducks is coming like he(Hopkins) does. Let’s hope he is right again.

Ryan Robertson
Yuma, Arizona
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