Orlando (Fla.) linebacker DeMario Tolan has been one of the hot topics on the recruiting front for the last month and a half. After verbally pledging to LSU over the summer, he was forced to reassess where his recruitment stood following the Tigers decision to part ways with then Head Coach Ed Orgeron. Enter: Auburn, Georgia, and Tennessee.
Still, just as Tolan wanted to allow other schools to reinvest in his recruitment, he wanted to give LSU's new staff a shot as well. This weekend, ahead of making a final decision in the coming days, Tolan traveled to Baton Rouge on his final official visit. He details the trip with Sports Illustrated All-American.
"Really it was getting to see how Coach Kelly was going to treat me and how he was going to try and change the team and how everything is going to work out under him," Tolan said of the focus of his trip to Baton Rouge. "I felt like I could trust his decisions with everything, and I am not really as worried now."
The message from the LSU Head Coach was to the point. Tolan is a need in the 2022 class in Baton Rouge.
"He says I am an important piece because I am the only linebacker in the class right now," Tolan said of the new LSU Head Coach's message to him. "He said I am a need there, and he really wants me to stay there with my commitment."
Tolan has hosted each school recruiting him for an in-home visit and had a chance to look at them down the stretch. He has built strong connections with each program after having opportunities to visit and connect with the coaching staff.
"I have really just been talking with all of them the same, and I have been sure to let them know that I was still planning to take that visit to LSU to see how I still feel about them after my visit," Tolan said. "They all, Auburn, Tennessee and Georgia, have been telling me I am need for them as well."
Tolan is not sure of which direction he is going to go at this stage of the recruiting process, as he could opt to sign with LSU or choose one of the other three, but his excitement level is amping up as he knows he is days away from fulfilling a childhood dream.
"That is a dream come true," Tolan said of getting to play in the SEC. "I always wanted to play SEC football and when it comes down to it, those are the schools that want me. Those are the schools I have been watching on TV since I was a kid. It is just a dream come true."
With signing day now less than 48 hours away, Tolan will spend time with his family and focus on the comfort level at each school to make a final decision.
"It is really going to be where I feel the most comfortable," Tolan said. "My final decision will be based on that and where I see myself fitting in the best at. That is really what it is going to come down to."
Tolan will most likely use Monday and Tuesday to figure out how he is going to announce the final decision, but he does plan to sign with one of these programs on the 15th and admits he still has a tough decision to make in the coming days.