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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Viliami Nauahi practices with UH

Nauahi finally practices with UH

One of Hawaii's top football recruits from four years ago has finally found his way to the Warriors practice field.

Safety Viliami Nauahi, the Star-Bulletin's No. 3 Hawaii high school prospect in the class of 2003, said he expects to be on the roster for UH's fall camp in August. The former Kahuku star participated in an informal offseason workout at Manoa yesterday.

"I've just been trying to go to school and get my AA and get back into the action. Coach Rich (Miano) and the counselors here have been helping a lot," Nauahi said. "I'm at KCC right now. I'll have my AA at the end of this summer session."

The Warriors won an intense recruiting battle with BYU to get a commitment from Nauahi in 2003. But he never enrolled at UH.

"It was eligibility," Nauahi said.

But Nauahi never gave up on his dream of playing college football. He worked and went to community college and enrolled at Fresno City College in the spring of 2006.

"I wanted to see how it would go there and try junior college (football) because I'd been out of football a while now," Nauahi said. "If I stayed there I'd have to stay for two years and I wanted to get my AA and start playing (at UH) quick."

Nauahi said an academic advisor told him he will have three years to play three seasons of football at UH, starting this fall.

He has added 15 pounds to his 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame since high school. Some of the new weight is good, some not.

"I'm trying to get in shape, probably cut down a little bit," Nauahi said.

UH coaches can't comment on Nauahi at this point. In 2003, though, coach June Jones was expecting big things from the 2002 first-team all-state selection.

"He's a big-time safety who has everything you look for at that position," Jones said at his 2003 letter of intent day news conference.

"I miss the field, I miss football. Finally it's coming down to getting back and I'm excited about getting back into the game," said Nauahi, who has moved from the North Shore to Kaimuki and works at Cingular.

He joins a long list of players battling for depth chart position at one open safety spot vacated by graduated Leonard Peters and behind incumbent Jake Patek at the other.

Others in contention include junior college transfer Erik Robinson, and returnees Desmond Thomas and Keao Monteilh.

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