Titus Toler is the subject of this edition of Freshman Focus, Badger of Honor’s series helping Wisconsin football fans get to know the incoming talent.
Hometown: Bellflower, CA
Rankings: 3-star (No. 41 safety, No. 500 overall)
Other offers: California, Colorado, Arizona State, Boston College, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon State, San Jose State, Vanderbilt, Washington, Washington State
The Wisconsin staff put the finishing touches on its 2019 recruiting class with a bang in December by picking up Toler, a 3-star (borderline 4-star) prospect and teammate of fellow commit Spencer Lytle at St. John Bosco in California.
The Badgers had been searching for a safety to add to this class ever since Bryson Shaw de-committed in April 2018 and pledged to Ohio State, and they got one at nearly the last minute in Toler, who committed to Wisconsin on December 14 and signed his national letter of intent just a few days later during the early signing period.
Paul Chryst and company were able to flip Toler from a commitment to Colorado that had been in place since last July. The Badgers saw an opening once head coach Mike MacIntyre was fired and quickly moved to get him on campus for an official visit the weekend prior to his pledge to Wisconsin, and, as is often the case, the staff hit it out of the park.
Colorado put up a fight under new head coach Mel Tucker to keep Toler in the fold, and California also snagged an official visit from him the weekend before his trip to Madison, but it just wasn’t enough once he saw what Wisconsin had to offer.
What to expect
Toler has the potential to get on the field immediately as a freshman this season. Assuming he’s gained a bit of weight since the end of his high school days (he’s listed at 180 pounds on his recruiting profile), at nearly 6 feet tall, he’s got good size for the position to go along with a well-rounded, versatile skill set.
Toler has standout athleticism that is complemented by a high motor and physical playing style, and some of the plays that stand out the most on his tape are those in which he uses his plus speed to quickly close in on ball carriers and deliver huge hits. I think his best position is probably strong safety given those tools, but he should be capable of playing free safety as well. Toler is much more than just a run-stuffer, as he is more than adept in coverage as well, having lined up at cornerback a great deal in high school.
That versatility should give him a real shot to see meaningful snaps for Wisconsin this season.
While I don’t think it’s likely that he can push for a starting spot in the fall since he’s only just arrived on campus and Scott Nelson, Eric Burrell, Reggie Pearson, and Collin Wilder, at minimum, are ahead of him right now, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him earn a reserve role at some point. It’s tough to say since we haven’t even seen Toler suit up yet, but based on his talent and physical tools alone and what we have seen from his teammates in the safety room so far in their careers, he could conceivably push for a spot on the two-deep with a strong performance in fall camp or during the season in the event of injuries or poor play on the part of the guys in front of him on the depth chart.
Long-term, I really think Toler has star potential in Madison.
Even if he does maintain his redshirt this season, you have to think that he has a good chance to see some meaningful snaps in the maximum four games he could play in, similarly to what we saw with Pearson last season. If that’s the case, Toler could legitimately be a five-year contributor for this program moving forward, and given the relative lack of depth at safety in the program at the moment, he should wind up as a multi-year starter for the Badgers before all is said and done.
It’s obviously still incredibly early in his Wisconsin career, but with all the snaps he will be able to put on tape for scouts over his career to go along with his size, athleticism, and versatility, Toler should have a great shot at the NFL down the road.
All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.com