Griz add defensive depth with transfers Vaohea and Tolliver
By ERIC TABER
Montana sports information
Montana Football head coach Bobby Hauck has again bolstered the Grizzlies’ defense this summer with the additions of transfers Soane Vaohea, a linebacker from Merced Junior College, and cornerback Mykal Tolliver from the University of Hawaii.
This pair of athletes have accepted scholarships to the University of Montana. Vaohea is currently enrolled and has joined the team for summer workouts. Tolliver will join the team ahead of fall camp in early August. Both will have two years of eligibility remaining at Montana.
Vaohea, a 6-0, 225-pound linebacker, joins the Grizzlies after two seasons at Merced Junior College where he was a 2017 Golden Coast Conference Champion and a two-time all-conference performer. There he produced 80 tackles, two forced fumbles, 10 sacks, one interception, and two fumble recoveries with the Blue Devils.
Before his time at Merced, Vaohea played at Maui High School in Hawaii where he won a conference championship his junior year. He will add depth a corps of Grizzly linebackers that include All-American Dante Olson and All-Big Sky linebacker Jace Lewis.
He appeared on Montana’s radar with Coach Hauck and Coach Baer formerly coaching Soane’s older brother during their years at UNLV.
“Once they talked with me and had a position as a linebacker, I talked with my family, and it was a no brainer because of the ties they have with my family,” said Vaohea.
“I am looking forward to playing for a wonderful town and community as a Griz. I just want to help make it a memorable year for the seniors and the program as a whole.”
Tolliver, a 6-0 178-pound cornerback from Rancho Cucamonga, California, joins a familiar face at Montana in Director of Football Operations Jimmy Morimoto, who previously held the same role at Hawaii.
“I am very thankful for Coach Jimmy. Knowing him provided some familiarity. He was extremely helpful, and it just fit,” said Tolliver.
“Coming in as a transfer I am looking forward to getting to UM, finding my role on the team, and contributing to in any way possible.”
Tolliver comes to Montana after three seasons with the Rainbow Warriors where he saw action in six games as a redshirt freshman before an injury kept him out his sophomore season. In that time, he recorded five tackles (three solo, two assisted), and posted a season-high two tackles against UCLA.
As a three-year letterman at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, California, Tolliver was named to the Long Beach Press Telegram Dream Team second team, Cal-Hi Sports All-State Juniors third team, and was All-Trinity League First Team selection his junior and senior year of High School. He was rated a three-star prospect by Rivals, Scout, 247Sports, and ESPN.
“Becoming a part of the Grizzly family is exciting. I am looking forward to getting on campus in a couple of weeks and getting to know all the guys,” added Tolliver.
Vaohea and Tolliver are the third and fourth transfers to join the Grizzly defense this summer, with D-end Joe Babros of NC State and linebacker Mason Vinyard of Washington State joining the team earlier in the summer.
The 2019 season opens on August 31 when the Grizzlies hit the road to Vermillion, South Dakota, to take on the USD Coyotes before returning to Missoula for the home opener against North Alabama on September 7.