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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kamana-Matagi could become King Kekaulike’s first scholarship player in FBS

PUKALANI --- Elvis Kamana-Matagi can make a little King Kekaulike High School football history.

With offers from Nevada-Las Vegas and Utah State already in hand and one expected from Hawaii soon, Kamana-Matagi is in position to become the first King Kekaulike player to land a football scholarship at a Football Bowl Subdivision school.

Kamana-Matagi, a 6-foot-2, 261-pound defensive end-offensive guard for Na Alii, said he will likely be an interior defensive lineman in college.

''Defensive tackle, mostly just interior D-line,'' Kamana-Matagi said Wednesday at practice. ''I am at 260-something now, so I might have to gain a little weight, to 280 or so. That would probably be good.''

King Kekaulike coach J.W. Kenton talked with UH coaches last week, and Kamana-Matagi said he expects to receive an offer from the Warriors soon.

''It will mean a lot and I am looking forward to it because this is my home,'' Kamana-Matagi said. ''If I can play for UH, that would be great. They would be in my top five right now, for sure, but I haven't really finalized my list yet.''

Kamana-Matagi also hopes to receive an offer from Texas Tech --- close friend Sam Fehoko, a Farrington graduate, is a linebacker with

the Red Raiders. Fehoko's father is Vili ''The Warrior'' Fehoko, who performs during UH games. Vili Fehoko and Elvis Matagi Sr. were childhood friends and Kamana-Matagi said he visits the Fehokos often on Oahu's North Shore.

Other schools on Kamana-Matagi's wish list are Colorado, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State and Oregon.

''I am going to wait, see what other offers I get and make my decision then,'' he said. ''If I can, I am going to take all five trips (allowed by NCAA rules).''

With his distinctive first name, Kamana-Matagi could become a fan favorite wherever he ends up.

''My grandma, when she came from Samoa, she loved Elvis Presley so she named my dad Elvis and then they named me Elvis Junior,'' he said.

Kenton said Kamana-Matagi has solid grades and is close to a qualifying score on the SAT.

''If Elvis continues and works he will be the first kid to get a scholarship out of our school for a Division I program,'' Kenton said. ''He is a good kid, he has come a long way. He still has a long way to go, but we just keep working every day.''

Kenton said Kamana-Matagi has been focused on what is possible from the beginning of his stay at the Pukalani campus.

''I have had him since the 9th grade and we put him into this academic system and he really did well as a 9th-grader,'' Kenton said. ''He made, like, a 3.0 (grade-point average) as a 9th-grader.''

Kamana-Matagi stepped in to play offense in addition to his regular spot on defense in last week's 18-8 win at Kealakehe after a 34-7 loss to Kalaheo the week before at home. Kenton said Kamana-Matagi taking on the extra role made a huge difference in the attitude Na Alii displayed on the field.

That kind of leadership is something Kamana-Matagi can leave as a legacy at the Upcountry school.

''We have had a bunch of good players throughout the years,'' Kenton said. ''And certain things didn't match up --- either they didn't get an offer or they didn't qualify. Something was always missing, but he is the real deal. He has got offers already on the table and all he has to do is do his part on the field and do it in the classroom and he will be there.''

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