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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

College of San Mateo LB commits to Hawai'i

Posted on: Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Warriors bolster defense as JC linebacker commits

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawai'i football team received another defensive boost, securing a commitment from a junior-college linebacker.

Francis Maka of the College of San Mateo is the sixth defensive player and eighth overall to commit to the Warriors this period.

Maka, who redshirted at the University of Arizona in 2004, is expected to enroll at UH next week.

Maka, who is 6 feet 3 and 245 pounds, will participate in spring practice, and have two years to play two seasons.

He will be reunited with defensive lineman Ray Hisatake, a San Mateo teammate who also enrolls next week.

"He's my best friend," Maka said. "It kind of worked out."

Defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold recruited Maka and Hisatake. "Coach Reinebold is one of the biggest reasons I'm going there," Maka said.

Maka was a standout at Bellarmine High in San Jose before joining Arizona. He redshirted in 2004, then transferred to San Mateo.

At San Mateo, Maka thrived as a ball-hawking linebacker and an aggressive special teams player.

"He was one of our leading tacklers," San Mateo coach Larry Owens said. "He was always around the ball. He was great on special teams. He'll be a nice fit for Hawai'i. He'll be around the football somewhere. He'll hit you."

Maka said: "I love playing special teams, especially on kickoffs. That's my favorite. I was the wedge-breaker."

Maka turned down a scholarship offer from San Jose State to commit to UH.

Because UH is out of mid-year scholarships, Maka will pay for tuition and expenses this semester. He goes on scholarship in August.

"I wanted to come out early so I could get the system down," Maka said. "I didn't want to be that far behind."

Maka aspires to become an engineer. His mother is a scientist who works in the cardiology department of San Francisco General Hospital. His father is in the construction industry.

Maka said he probably will compete at outside linebacker for the Warriors.

He said he can run 40 yards in 4.75 seconds, and bench press 350 pounds.

"Francis is a kid who has a lot of talent," Owens said. "He can move for his size. He's a very intelligent young man."

Reach Stephen Tsai at stsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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