Jan. 3, 2014
RALEIGH, N.C. - Throughout 2014, GoPack.com will offer a unique behind-the scenes look at the Wolfpack football program in a new series called #TandTu. Beginning today, student-athletes Jack Tocho (JT) and Joe Thuney (J-Tu) will share their photos, videos and thoughts about being a member of the Pack, their life away from football, offseason conditioning, their academic work, their teammates and everything that goes into preparation for the season.
As a rising fourth-year junior, Thuney (pronounced TOO-nee) will give the veteran’s viewpoint. The utility man on the offensive line, J-Tu started at guard and tackle in 2013 and played center in 2012. A seven-game starter at cornerback as a true freshman, Tocho (or “JT”) will be going through his first offseason conditioning program and spring practice and will share a first-timer’s perspective.
Getting to Know Jack Tocho
Tocho received the starting nod in seven games at cornerback in 2012 and was one of just two true freshmen to start on the defensive side of the ball. He saw action in 500 snaps for the season and in his first collegiate start vs. Syracuse, picked off two passes, returning them for a combined 50 yards. He earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors for that performance.
An AP all-state player in 2012, Tocho attended Independence High School in Charlotte. He is the only son of David and Gertrude Tocho, natives of Kenya who met after they immigrated to the U.S. He has an older sister in Africa and a younger sister in Charlotte.
The Tochos stay in constant contact with their family in Africa, speaking once a week and on holidays. Both of JT’s parents are from the Luo tribe, so the family speaks Luo as well as English when he is at home.
“Unless they are saying something they don’t want my sister and I to hear,” Tocho laughs. “Then they speak Swahili since we don’t know it.”
Tocho has traveled to Kenya every five years since he’s been born - three times in all. “Kenya has changed every time I’ve been back,” he says. “Last time there were roads - even though they are dirt roads - and a tarmac and electricity and hot water.”
Life is much simpler in Africa, the Pack’s rising sophomore says. “Everybody has acres and acres of land so there are no neighbors walking by. Lake Victoria is two miles away, so we would walk there in the morning and bring back the fish we would eat for lunch and dinner. If we wanted a soda, we would walk a mile or two to the store to get one. It’s very simple there. There is no TV, really nothing to do like there is here.
“It really makes me appreciate all that I have,” he continues. “Especially my parents.”
#TandTu - Installment 1: JT’s Take (Jan. 3, 2014)
It has felt great to be at home over the holidays and have nothing to worry about. Before this break, it was seven days a week of things to do and then I came home and the only thing I had to do was work out. I could just stay in bed all day if I wanted to.
Since July I had only been home for the bye week and then on Thanksgiving Day, so it was nice to be here for a while.
Exams were nerve wracking for me. In high school, I never had to study that much. Coming into exam time I was trying to study the whole day, every day - No fun, just study, study, study, study. I did well though. I made all As and Bs and finished with a 3.5.
Before we left for the break, the coaches gave us a workout plan. We had to lift three times a week and do the running as well. I also didn’t want to lose technique so I worked with my old DB coach when I had a chance. When I came home everybody wanted to work out with me. My old high school teammates and guys from UNC Charlotte wanted to do drills and do seven-on-sevens. My old DB coach wanted to see how we do things. A former high school teammate - Austin Duke - plays receiver at Charlotte now so we talked about techniques we could use on each other.
I will come back to Raleigh on Saturday and we have our first team meeting on Sunday. It’s exciting not to be the young guy any more. I already have that feeling. I just want to work on my technique and start honing in on my liabilities and doing the little things I need to do to be the best.