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It sounds like Nebraska may have hired its new defensive line coach. Nothing is confirmed by the university at the time of publishing, but there were plenty of rumblings about the hire Monday afternoon. Sources confirmed to Hail Varsity that Nebraska is expected to hire Cal defensive line coach Tony Tuioti. He would replace the departed Mike Dawson. The news was first reported by Rivals and 247Sports.
Tuioti has been with Cal the past two seasons. He served as the defensive line coach for the Golden Bears in 2018 and outside linebackers in 2017. However, it’s what Tuioti did before his time with Cal that’s the most intriguing from a recruiting perspective.
Prior to joining Cal’s staff, Tuioti was the director of player personnel at Michigan in 2016.
“During his one season with the Wolverines, Tuioti filled the role of the head of the recruiting department for a team that finished 10-3 overall and ranked No. 10 nationally,” according to Tuioti’s bio on Cal’s website. “He was instrumental in hosting recruiting visits for many of the nation’s top recruits and helped secure several commitments including each of the top six ranked in-state recruits as part of a 2017 class that ranked as high as No. 3 nationally according to Scout.”
Michigan’s 2017 recruiting class included two 5-stars: wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones and defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon. It also included 19 4-star prospects, like defensive end Luiji Vilain and outside linebackers Drew Singleton and Jordan Anthony.
Tuioti did more than just help Michigan identify top talent on the recruiting trail. He also, according to his bio, “played a critical role in developing the relationships for a satellite camp tour in the summer of 2016 that included American Samoa, Australia and Hawaii among nearly 40 locations.”
Convenient, especially since Nebraska just added that National OL/DL Pipeline Camp with Adidas for this summer. It sounds like Tuioti has the experience with those camps, which is an added perk for Nebraska. Having seen camps run all over the world, he’ll be able to bring a different perspective to the camp at Nebraska. Not saying that’s why the Huskers are expected to hire him, but perks are perks.
As for Tuioti’s recruiting footprint, it’ll be interesting to see where Nebraska puts him. The Huskers recruit in regions, which is something that actually helps in situations like this when a staffing change is made. Dawson was focused in the Northeast (understandable too, seeing as he’s from Massachusetts), but Tuioti hails from Hawaii.
Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander has Hawaii. It’s an important state for Frost too. Two of Frost’s quarterbacks — Marcus Mariota and McKenzie Milton — are from Hawaii and it’s an area he’s said he’d like to continue to look at for talent.
Maybe Nebraska will reconfigure and focus Tuioti on Hawaii. Or maybe he’ll take Dawson’s old stomping grounds.
Either way, he’s shown he’s more than capable of finding talent on the recruiting trail. With only one commit in Nebraska’s 2020 class so far — quarterback Logan Smothers — it’s essentially a blank slate for Nebraska and Tuioti. So if he officially ends up as the Huskers’ next defensive line coach? That 2020 class could get pretty interesting for Nebraska.
>> Nebraska continues to be interested in Colorado athletes and extrememly tall tight ends. Kole Taylor, a 6-foot-6 and 225 pound tight end from Grand Junction, Colorado, received an offer from the Huskers on Monday. He also holds offers from BYU, Arkansas, Colorado and . . . Cal (hi, Tony Tuioti).
— Kole Taylor (@KoleTaylor3) February 25, 2019
>> Wandale Robinson is obviously not a recruit any longer, but it feels like he just was (because he actually just was). Now he’s destroying the weight room. Maybe show this to kids on the recruiting trail?
>> There’s symmetry all around Nebraska men’s basketball, which Mike Babcock did an incredible job describing when looking at the 2018-19 season.
>> Speaking of Nebraska basketball, the Huskers flipped the roles of James Palmer Jr. and Gynn Watson Jr. and it seems to have yielded positive results.
>> Nebraska weather continues to be Nebraska weather, and baseball fans are now suffering as a result. Sorry, everyone. The home opener is going to have to wait.
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.