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Friday, December 22, 2006

College of San Mateo: Ray Hisatake Verbals to UH

Ray Hisatake of the College of San Mateo has verballed to attend UH next fall. Please see the link to Hisatake's 2006 Highlights

Posted on: Friday, December 22, 2006

Warriors get big on defense

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawai'i football team is not reloading.

It appears to be building an army of highly-ranked defensive linemen.

The Warriors yesterday secured a commitment from a third 3-star defensive lineman when Ray Hisatake of the College of San Mateo accepted a scholarship offer.

"Hawai'i is the place for me," said Hisatake, who is 6 feet 4 and 315 pounds.

He said he will sign his national letter of intent this weekend, enroll at UH in January and participate in spring practice in April.

Hisatake already has earned an associate degree, one of the NCAA eligibility requirements for an incoming junior-college transfer.

He will have three years to play two seasons for the Warriors.

"This is a big-time 'get' for Hawai'i," said Jeremy Crabtree, national recruiting editor for the Rivals.com scouting service.

Hisatake is the seventh prospect — and third defensive lineman — to commit to UH. Vaughn Meatoga of Kamehameha Schools and Chris Leatigaga of Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, Calif., also received 3-star ratings from national recruiting services. Running back Leon Jackson, who played at Nebraska in 2005, was a 4-star prospect.

"I don't think Hawai'i has ever had that many 3-star defensive linemen," Crabtree said.

Crabtree said a 3-star player "projects to be a multi-year starter with pro potential."

Hisatake attended Westmoor High School (Daly City, Calif.), which did not field a football team. Instead, he competed in discus and shot put for four years and basketball as a senior.

"San Mateo has a really good throwing program, so I decided to go there," Hisatake said. "When I got there, I thought I'd give football a shot."

San Mateo coach Larry Owens said Hisatake's was "really raw" as a freshman.

"He didn't have any habits," Owens said. "He had to learn the nuances of the game. But he really worked hard. It's a credit to how hard he worked."

By the start of this season, Hisatake caught the attention of a Pac-10 coach.

"The coach said we needed to check him out," Crabtree recalled. "The coach said that everybody who played against him felt he had a lot of potential.

"He's not perfect," Crabtree added. "He needs to get bigger and faster. But he does have all of the tools. Right now he's still a little bit of a white canvas. But he has the potential to develop into a better player."

Hisatake went on recruiting trips to UH, San Jose State and New Mexico. But he said he felt most comfortable with the UH program. He praised the players and coaching staff, especially defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold.

"He's a good coach and a good person," Hisatake said of Reinebold. "He's a good friend of my coach (Owens)."

Hisatake had set Wednesday as the deadline to announce his decision. But he waited until he could notify the San Jose State coaches.

"I enjoyed my stays (at San Jose and New Mexico)," Hisatake said. "They're both great programs. Their players and coaches are great. Their facilities are great. It's not like I didn't like this or didn't like that. I feel Hawai'i is the best place for me. That's how I based my decision."

Crabtree said Hisatake, who will compete at nose tackle, will benefit from participating in spring practice.

"You can't stress the importance of getting early work," Crabtree said. "It speeds up the learning curve than having a kid come in during the summer."

Hisatake said his Japanese surname comes from his great-great grandfather, whose wife was Samoan.

"I'm a quarter of a quarter Japanese," Hisatake said. The rest is Samoan.

Hisatake said his sister lives in Honolulu.

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