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Saturday, October 20, 2007

McKinley QB Earvin Sione chooses UH

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawai'i football team has secured a commitment from a player who, like Magic, can make hard-to-believe plays in an athletic way.

"I'm staying home," McKinley High's Earvin Sione said.

Sione, who is 6 feet 5 and 190 pounds, moved to quarterback this season after playing wideout last year.

"It doesn't matter where I play," Sione said, "as long as I'm playing for U of H."

Sione said he was named after basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson.

Sione is a skilled basketball player, leading McKinley to the 2007 state Division II championship. He narrowly missed a triple-double in the title game, amassing nine points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks.

McKinley football coach Bobby Grey said Sione is just as impressive on the gridiron.

"He's the most coachable kid I ever had," Grey said.

Sione missed four football games in 2006 after suffering a broken right collarbone. He came back to play in the playoffs.

"He's got great footwork," Grey said of Sione's skills as a receiver. "He runs routes exactly the way they should be run. He understands leverage. He's a coach's dream when it comes to having a kid like that."

At the end of last season, Grey needed to find a successor at quarterback. Relying on an age-old theory, Grey asked Sione to move to quarterback.

"Unless you're a deep team like Kahuku, you usually put your best athlete at quarterback, and then surround him, and try to go from there," Grey said. "He's our best athlete."

In the Tigers' spread offense, Sione would handle the ball about 10 times more at quarterback.

Sione accepted the challenge. "I wanted to lead our offense," he said.

Sione also wanted to demonstrate his talents for the UH coaches. Sione said he has been a long-time fan of the Warriors.

"I like the way they play, especially the defense," Sione said. "They're hard hitters."

Three summers ago, he started to attend the Hawai'i Speed and Quickness clinics on the UH campus. One of the guest instructors was former UH All-America slotback/returner Chad Owens.

"We learned a lot," Sione said. "Chad Owens showed us how to get faster. He helped me big time."

As a sophomore, Sione made his first basketball dunk.

"It was amazing," he recalled. "I didn't think I could do that."

After attending this summer's clinics, he lowered his time in the 40-yard dash to 4.5 seconds.

"On the field, at his top speed, I don't think anybody can catch him," Grey said. "And he's still growing into his body. You know he'll gain some weight."

Sione is a good student who is not expected to have any problems meeting the academic requirements to play as an NCAA freshman.

"He's a good kid," Grey said. "He really takes care of it in the classroom. He's a good person. He has good family values. He was raised right."

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