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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

UH’s Satele earns rare honor

With all the unprecedented attention being given to BCS-bound Hawaii and its Heisman finalist quarterback, is it really surprising that a simple All-American award would escape the attention of coach June Jones?

Offensive lineman Hercules Satele was named to the Football Writers Association of America's All-American team over the weekend, when all eyes were on New York and Colt Brennan at the Heisman Trophy awards show, where the quarterback finished third.

"That's pretty awesome," Jones said when told of Satele's accolade. "That's the first I've heard of it, but he's certainly deserving. He's had a great career, and he's played very well last year and this year. Pass-protected as well as anybody in the country."

The 6-foot-2, 293-pound senior left guard is part of a Warriors front that allowed only 26 sacks during the regular season -- an average of just over two per game -- despite the quarterback being the obvious focal point for defenses in Hawaii's pass-happy run-and-shoot offense.

His relative, Samson, was named to Sports Illustrated's second team at center last year before being drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. It wouldn't surprise Jones if the younger Satele followed in his sibling's steps to the next level.

"I would think Herc would certainly get his opportunity to prove what he can do, and I think he'll get better when he gets into run blocking and other schemes," said Jones, who just returned from a book signing on Kauai. "He'll be a real powerful player.

"They're two very physical players, and you want 'em physical in a pass offense," the coach added of the similarities between the two Sateles.

Satele and Central Florida running back Kevin Smith were the only non-BCS conference selections on the FWAA offense or defense teams, and Satele was the only player from the Western Athletic Conference. The FWAA, made up of media writers of each conference in Division I college football, only selects a first team.

When Satele came to Hawaii in 2003 out of high school powerhouse Long Beach (Calif.) Poly High, Jones had tempered expectations.

"We felt like he was our kind of athletic lineman," he said. "We knew Samson was his (relative), so we kind of knew what we were getting. But still, there's a lot of ifs involved with a high school kid. You've gotta be dedicated, you've gotta work hard, and spend the time in the offseason to improve yourself. He did all those things."

Junior slot back Davone Bess was named to the Walter Camp All-American second team last week.

Strong man

Hawaii lineman Hercules Satele has not missed a game since 2005:

Year Satele Team
2007 12 12
2006 14 14
2005 9 12
2004 5 13
2003 3 14

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