For someone accustomed to moving around the country DeMario Tolan, the son of two military veterans, desperately sought a sense of home when looking at his college choices.
Less than a month following an official visit to LSU, Tolan apparently found what he was looking for when the 6-foot-2, 205-pound four-star outside linebacker from Dr. Phillips High in Orlando committed Thursday to the Tigers during at a ceremony at the school.
“I know that is LSU is a great place and I know that Coach O (Orgeron) is a great coach,” Tolan told 247Sports. “That’s why I’m going to LSU. Coach O is smart. He knows what he’s doing. He just needs the players to do what he did two years ago when they won (a national title).”
Tolan, an honors student who will be a mid-term enrollee in January, chose LSU over a group of finalists that included Clemson, Florida State, Miami and Tennessee.
He gives the Tigers their 13th commitment, their first linebacker and first player from Florida in the Class of 2022, and bumped the team’s national ranking from sixth to fourth, according to 247Sports.
“Competitive nature. He comes from a military family and brings those intangibles to the field,” Steve Wiltfong said, Director of Recruiting for 247Sports. “He’s a punishing football player, he’s a physical tackler. Shows change of direction. He gets to the ball fast and plays faster than it appears on the field. He’s hungry.”
Tolan, who began his career at Tohopekaliga High in Kissimmee, went into his junior season with only one scholarship offer from Florida International.
Through a productive junior season and additional offseason work Tolan raised that total to 39 offers. He’s the 255th overall nationally, rated the No. 27 linebacker and No. 29 prospect in Florida.
“I always had that hunger,” Tolan said. “They’re going to get everything out of me.”
Prior to moving to Orlando, Tolan’s lived in San Diego and St. Louis.
He took three official visits once the NCAA lifted its ban on in-person visits June 1 and made stops at Tennessee (4-5), LSU (18-19) and Miami (25-26).
“He said he really wanted me, and he really showed it while I was there,” Tolan said of Orgeron, while also crediting first-year LSU linebackers coach Blake Baker for the role he played in his decision.
Tolan started his sophomore and junior seasons at Tohopekaliga where his team made the Class 7A state playoffs each year.
During that time, Tolan was able to show off his versatility, playing running back and wide receiver on offense and linebacker on defense.
He compiled 43 tackles with two tackles for loss, three sacks and broke up four passes in 2019 to go along with 49 carries for 291 yards rushing and 4 TDs and 14 receptions for 183 yards and a TD.
During last year’s coronavirus-shortened season, Tolan’s team went 5-4 and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs. He had 30 tackles in seven games.
“He loves to play,” Wiltfong said. “On the football field he’s a ferocious football player. He can play in space and play in between the tackles.”