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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Jordan Pu'u Robinson to Washington State

By ROBERT COLLIAS
Staff Writer
WAILUKU — Baldwin High School’s Jordan Puu-Robinbson verbally committed to accept a football scholarship from Washington State University on Tuesday.

The defensive end-tight end for the Bears said he has been told by the WSU staff that he will begin his college career as a defensive end, but could grow into a defensive tackle or tight end later.

The 6-foot-4, 248-pounder was ranked No. 37 on the Rivals.com Northwest Hot 100 list that was released in August. That list covers high school seniors in Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Idaho.

Puu-Robinson joins DE-TE teammate Mana Rosa, who is verbally committed to Oregon State, as a Pacific-10 Conference recruit.

‘‘I told Mana already,’’ Puu-Robinson said. ‘‘He is excited that we are both going to be in the Pac-10. That is what we both wanted at the beginning of the year — to be in the Pac-10.’’

Puu-Robinson had to turn down offers from Idaho and Utah State when he committed to WSU.

Former Baldwin linebacker Jojo Dickson was Puu-Robinson’s host on a recruiting visit to Idaho last month. Ironically, that is where WSU came into focus for Puu-Robinson as he saw the Pullman, Wash., campus that is just nine miles away from UI in Moscow, Idaho.

‘‘It was tough to say no to Jojo and I had a great visit there,’’ Puu-Robinson said. ‘‘The players were cool, they have a great coaching staff and a lot of good Hawaii guys.’’

Likewise, it was hard to say no to Utah State where former Baldwin standout and head coach Chad Kauhaahaa would have been Puu-Robinson’s coach on the defensive line. Kauhaahaa helped Weber State to a Big Sky Conference title and the Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinals before getting the USU job earlier this month.

‘‘It was tough to tell Utah State no as well,’’ Puu-Robinson said. ‘‘Everybody knows how great a guy Chad is and being a former Baldwin D-lineman added to it. Everybody knows how his career is really rising.’’

Puu-Robinbson said he plans to study business management at WSU and is solid in his commitment. He will take an official visit there on Jan. 9, 2009.

‘‘First, we found it was a good school,’’ he said. ‘‘Academically and athletically we believe they are growing. It is a good coaching staff and I just can’t pass up the Pac-10. It is a good fit for me, a good small-town college atmosphere. I am a solid verbal. I plan on sticking with them all the way through.’’

The Cougars are coming off a 2-11 season in which they beat only Portland State and winless Washington and surrendered an NCAA record 570 points.

‘‘The coaching staff, they were put in a tough situation last year,’’ Puu-Robinson said. ‘‘They are not looking for a quick fix they are trying to do things the right way up there.’’

Puu-Robinson is looking forward to facing Rosa once a year for the next four or five years.

‘‘Yeah, that would be great get to play against my teammate,’’ Puu-Robinson said.

He added that his transfer from Kamehameha Schools Maui to Baldwin for his senior season ended up being the right move. He currently has a cumulative 3.3 grade-point average and a qualifying score on the SAT.

‘‘The transfer to Baldwin really opened things up for me,’’ he said. ‘‘I got an MIL championship and met a lot of good guys along the way, good teammates and good coaches and now here I am.’’

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