Having the opportunity to be mentored by Atlanta Falcons tight end extraordinaire Tony Gonzales is a pretty good answer to that question.
During his high school days, Toilolo was quite the standout. He was named to First Team All-Grossman league as a tight end and a defensive end, no small feat under any circumstances. Toilolo broke the stereotype about athletes’ intelligence levels when the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame selected him as a Scholar Leader-Athlete for the 2008-2009 academic year.
Toilolo’s injury history during his college play is not long as much as it is considerable. A leg injury took him out of contention in 2009; after being named starting tight end in 2010, he fell victim to a torn ACL in the first game of the 2010 season. It wasn’t until 2011 that he was able to show everyone just what he could do.
And show them, he did.
In 2011, Toilolo recorded 25 catches for 343 yards with six touchdowns. He logged his very first touchdown in the Arizona game when he caught a 34-yard pass from Andrew Luck. That game also saw him catch four passes for an impressive 102 yards. After Zach Ertz was sidelined by injury, he stepped in and caught 16 passes for 150 yards over the remainder of the season. His accomplishments earned him an honorable mention in the all-conference selection.
For those who thought Toilolo was only capable as long as Luck was there, he was only too happy to prove them wrong in 2012. With 393 yards and 24 receptions, he came in first of all the team receivers with an average of 16.4 yards per catch. His career high for total yards came that year against Arizona, with 141 yards in five catches. His efforts garnered him another honorable mention in the all-conference selection, as well as the team’s T.E.A.M. (technique, effort, attitude and mental discipline) Technician Award.
The Falcons made quite a catch of their own by drafting the 6’8” 260-pound powerhouse that is Levine Toilolo, and the fans should look forward to watching him come into his own…on and off the field.