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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Poly DE also joining UH

Long Beach Poly High has so much defensive talent, the Hawai'i football team decided to go back for a second helping.

Defensive end Iuta Tepa yesterday accepted a scholarship offer from the Warriors.

Tepa will continue as a teammate to linebacker George Daily-Lyles, who recently gave a verbal commitment to UH.

"Hawai'i is getting two solid guys, the catalysts of our defense," Poly coach Raul Lara said.

The Jackrabbits, who won a California state championship last year, are 3-0 this season. They opened with a 29-7 road victory over Northwestern (of Miami), and are outscoring opponents, 69-9.

Lara said Tepa, who can play at both end positions, has been a key defender.

"He's very good coming off the edge," Lara said. "He has pretty good technique getting loose. He's just very active and aggressive."

Lara said Tepa's sack totals are down because opposing quarterbacks are trying to release passes quickly — a result of the Jackrabbits' menacing pass rush.

"He's just an impact player," Lara said.

Tepa is 6 feet 3 and 238 pounds. He can run 40 yards in 4.7 seconds.

Tepa was a linebacker last season before moving to end in the Jackrabbits' 4-3 alignment.

"The last couple of years, we've had great defensive ends," Lara said. "He's in that class."

Tepa said he received the UH offer during the Jackrabbits' pre-game meal the past Friday. Although the Warriors were his top choice, he decided to hold off until after he consulted with his parents.

"They thought Hawai'i was a good choice," Tepa said. "We have a lot of family in Hawai'i."

Tepa received an offer from Arizona, and strong interest from Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Colorado State and Minnesota.

But he said UH has "been my choice from the top. I think it's a good opportunity for me."

Tepa is not expected to have any difficulty meeting the NCAA eligibility requirements. He has a cumulative 3.5 grade-point average. His favorite subject is math.

Tepa also is an outside hitter on Poly's volleyball team.

Tepa said he looks forward to learning one of the Warriors' traditions.

"I'm ready to do the haka," he said, but "they'll have to teach me."

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