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Thursday, August 16, 2007

UH Recruit Gabe Tuata to attend Pasadena CC

by Brendan Shriane
West Hawaii Today
Wednesday, August 15, 2007 10:51 AM HST
Gabe Tuata is taking his patented moves to the mainland.

Tuata, the speedy tailback/kick returner from Kealakehe who on Feb. 6 signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at the University of Hawaii, will instead play this fall at Pasadena (Calif.) City College.

This summer, Hawaii coach June Jones had said Tuata, last year's Big Island Interscholastic Federation Offensive Player of the Year, would grayshirt in 2007, meaning he wouldn't start school -- or football practice -- in Manoa until 2008.

Tuata's father, Laau Tuata, said Gabe Tuata wasn't happy with being grayshirted and thought the process wasn't explained to the family very well.

Hawaii coach June Jones could not be immediately reached for comment.

It was also possible Gabe Tuata would have been redshirted for the 2008-09 season as the 5-foot-5, 170-pounder bulked up.

"He didn't like the idea of sitting out two years," Laau Tuata said. "He just wants to play."

Gabe Tuata was practicing with the Pasadena team on the mainland and didn't immediately return calls for comment but Pasadena Sports Information Director Robert Lewis confirmed that Tuata had joined the team.

Lewis said nearly 20 other Hawaii players will join Tuata, including his former Kealakehe teammate, Aaron Cockrell, a second-team All-BIIF defensive back for the Waveriders in 2005.

Last year, Tuata rushed for 1,869 yards and 25 touchdowns on just 122 carries at tailback -- a 15.3-yards-per-carry average -- as a senior at Kealakehe. He scored 33 all-purpose touchdowns as the Waveriders won their third consecutive BIIF Division I championship.

Tuata has been playing with the first team at Pasadena, his father reported. The team will open the season Sept. 1 at Los Angeles Southwest College.

"He's doing well up there," Laau Tuata said.

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