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Rigby's Star Defensive End Joins Pac-12 Program
Tanoa Togiai announced he will join the Utah Utes after graduating from Rigby High School
Published: 2/6/2020 3:33:13 PM

Just four months removed from a 5A State Championship title, Rigby's Tanoa Togiai declared he would be joining the Pac-12 as a defensive tackle with the Utah Utes. 

Togiai’s decision came down to Utah, Kansas State, Nebraska and Washington. But the allure of playing for one of the better teams in the country drew Togiai to Salt Lake City. The Utes finished 11-3 in 2019, narrowly missing out on a bid to the College Football Playoff after falling to Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship game. 

But Togiai, who made the announcement at RHS surrounded by friends and family, cited the short trip from Rigby to Salt Lake as a driving force in his decision. 

"It's close to home and my family can come watch me," he said. "It's cool to have my family support me."

Togiai, who stands at 6-foot-6 and weighs 295 pounds, will hope to be the next star defensive lineman for Utah, following a long list which includes former first-rounder Star Lotulelei.

"I haven't met any of the other recruits, I've only met with the coaches, but I'm looking forward to knowing them well," Togiai said.

Utah was the first team to show interest in Togiai, and while Washington made a late push to sign the three-star state champ, Togiai stuck with the Utes, who he visited back in September. 

"I'm only the second defensive tackle they've signed this year," Togiai said. "I'll be the only one there this year, training as freshman."

This past season at Rigby, Togiai was named the 2019 5A High Country Defensive Player of the Year. His efforts were rewarded as he received an invite to play in the 2020 Polynesian All-American Bowl. A decorated athlete, Togiai was also All-State in basketball and competed in track and field. Football runs in his family as well with his father Jerry playing at Kansas State and his cousin Tommy currently playing for Ohio State. 

As a recruit, Togiai was listed as the No. 3 prospect in the state of Idaho only behind Washington commit Gaard Memmelaar and Boise State commit Austin Bolt. He is a firm three-star recruit and listed as the 68th strong-side defensive end in the country.

While Bolt decided to compete in the Mountain West, Togiai and Memmelaar were joined by Canyon Ridge's Louie Cresto and Bishop Kelly's Beau Nelson in the Pac-12. Cresto announced he would sign with Oregon and Nelson with Stanford.

Utah kicks off the 2020 season against Brigham Young Sept. 3.

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