Elite defensive prospect commits to Warriors
|UH football practice gallery|
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stephen Tsai
The University of Hawai'i football team has secured a commitment from one of the state's top defensive prospects.
Vaughn Meatoga of Kamehameha Schools said he has decided to fulfill a childhood dream of playing for the Warriors.
He will put his commitment in writing Feb. 7, the first day high school recruits may sign binding national letters of intent. This is the earliest commitment in June Jones' eight years as UH head coach.
"I want to play at home," said Meatoga, who was born on Kaua'i and has boarded at Kamehameha since the ninth grade. "As a kid, I always wanted to play for UH. Now I'll get the chance."
Meatoga, who is 6 feet 2 and 274 pounds, plays defensive tackle for Kamehameha. He is projected to compete at defensive end in UH's 3-4 alignment.
Rivals.com, a respected scouting service, rated Meatoga as the nation's 43rd-best defensive tackle. He also is listed as the state's No. 7 overall football prospect.
"That was nice, because I never went to the Nike combine or anything like that," Meatoga said.
At a combine put on by the Pacific Islands Athletics Alliance (PIAA) in May, Meatoga bench pressed 225 pounds 17 times. He also ran 40 yards in 5.0 seconds, and completed the shuttle run in 4.6 seconds.
During the summer, he bench pressed 365 pounds.
"I know I have to work really hard to prepare for next year," Meatoga said.
Meatoga, it seems, has been preparing for this opportunity most of his life. He joined Pop Warner as a fifth-grader on Kaua'i.
He also competed in baseball and golf. But one day, he decided to focus entirely on football, dropping the other sports.
Meatoga weighed 160 pounds as a Kamehameha freshman. But he bulked up, and as a sophomore, he was on the Kamehameha team that won the state championship.
"That was a lot of fun," he said.
This year, Meatoga drew interest from Washington, Boise State, Colorado, Fresno State and New Mexico State.
He received early scholarship offers from UH and Nevada-Las Vegas. But he had already made his decision.
Meatoga was going to announce his choice this weekend. By making his choice public yesterday, he can enjoy Saturday's game between UH and Idaho.
"I go to all of the UH games," Meatoga said. "That won't change."