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Thursday, June 01, 2006

UH Football Recruit Waylon Lolotai to go on LDS Mission

University of Hawai'i recruit Waylon Lolotai plans to go on an LDS mission before entering UH as a freshman football player. Lolotai is the grandson of Al Lolotai the first Samoan to play in the NFL and son of former Colorado football player Tiloi Lolotai. Waylon Lolotai's cousin Mana Lolotai will be a 1st year linebacker at Oregon State this fall.

Warrior recruit to go on mission

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Waylon Lolotai, a linebacker from Colorado, will go on a two-year church mission this fall and delay the start of his University of Hawai'i football career until 2009.

"I think it's the right thing to do," said Lolotai, who signed a letter of intent with the Warriors in February. He will graduate from Centaurus High School on Saturday.

In October, Lolotai will turn 19, the minimum age to serve a mission for the Mormon church.

He said he expects to receive his assignment soon after, and will likely begin his mission in November or December. "I'm pretty excited about that," he said.

Some football players opt to spend a year at a university before beginning their church mission. A football player's NCAA eligibility clock — five years to play four seasons — freezes during a church mission or military duty.

"That was an option," Lolotai said. "But it was my decision to go on a mission after high school. This is something I want to do first."

Lolotai is working on a farm to raise money for his expenses. He plans to spend time in Utah with relatives before leaving for his mission.

Lolotai, who was raised on the Mainland, has ties to the Islands. His father, Tiloi Lolotai, was an All-State lineman at Iolani School and a former University of Colorado player. His grandfather, Al Lolotai, was the first player of Samoan ancestry to play in the National Football League.

Tiloi Lolotai said his son is a lifelong UH fan.

"He always wanted to go there," Tiloi said. "That's why it was a hard decision. Since he was young, he wanted to go on a mission. He knows it will be hard work, knocking on doors and talking to strangers about the church. And he won't get to work out. ... He's pretty active in the church. We, as a family, are, too. The main thing is he'll be able to help people and get an education. His next six years are set up perfectly for him."

At Centaurus, Lolotai played tight end and defensive end. He can run 40 yards in 4.8 seconds, and bench press 185 pounds 21 times.

He also competed in track and field (4x200 relay and discus), wrestling and volleyball.


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