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Thursday, June 14, 2007

St Francis (PA) Lineman Derek Uperesa to transfer to Hawai'i

Posted on: Thursday, June 14, 2007

Another Uperesa to play for UH

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Offensive lineman Derek Uperesa will join the University of Hawai'i football team in the fall.

Uperesa, who is 6 feet 6 and 350 pounds, was an offensive tackle at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania last season. He requested — and received — a release from his Saint Francis scholarship in April.

"There were a lot of reasons, but more than half of my decision was based on football," Uperesa said. "I wanted a change."

Uperesa spent last Christmas break with relatives in Hawai'i. His cousins are Dane Uperesa, a former UH offensive tackle now with the Cincinnati Bengals, and Drew Uperesa, a Punahou School graduate who will join the Warriors in January.

While training at UH during his vacation, Derek Uperesa decided he wanted to transfer.

"I knew it was time to make a move," Uperesa said.

After receiving his scholarship release, Uperesa contacted the UH coaches.

In accordance with NCAA transfer rules, Uperesa must redshirt this season. But he will be allowed to practice with the team and attend classes. He will be a senior during the 2008 season.

"I'm glad he's going to be a Warrior," Dane Uperesa said. "He's a good player. I know he's taller than me. He's big, but he carries his weight well. It's definitely exciting to have another cousin play for Hawai'i."

The Uperesas also are related to Mana Lolotai, a linebacker who joins the Warriors this summer, and Waylon Lolotai, a UH recruit who is on a church mission. Waylon Lolotai will enroll at UH in January 2009.

Derek Uperesa was born and raised in American Samoa. He is a graduate of Samoana High School.

Uperesa said he chose Saint Francis because "I wanted to go to a different environment."

Uperesa, who answers to the nickname "Beese," moved to Hawai'i last week. He is participating in the Warriors' unsupervised summer workout program.

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