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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Hawaii football talent at an all-time high

Hawaii's influence on Division I football is more than it's ever been.

A total of 101 players who graduated from local high schools dot the rosters of major D-I teams on the mainland.

Throw in the 55 playing for Hawaii this season and you're looking at more than 150 gearing up for the beginning of the 2009 college football season.

And that's just at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level. It doesn't include Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams like Weber State and Portland State, or other kids who go the junior college route.

"When you think about it, that's very impressive for a place out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, pumping that many kids into schools mostly on the West Coast," said Brian McLaughlin, who tracks national recruiting for The Sporting News.

Getting the necessary exposure had long been a problem for players coming out of high school here. But as the popularity of college football has continued to grow, so too have opportunities for kids to get their names out to the appropriate people, at younger and younger ages.

Recruiting has become so competitive that Hawaii coach Greg McMackin offered Saint Louis freshman Reeve Koehler a scholarship when he was in eighth grade.

The recruiting spotlight was never brighter on Hawaii than last year, when Punahou standout Manti Te'o had every major college eager for his services.

While Te'o eventually settled on Notre Dame, his recruitment opened the door for others from the islands to secure important scholarships to mainland schools.

"There's no question he has opened it up more than it has ever been," McLaughlin said.

The proof is in the numbers. Of the 101 players, 24 graduated from high school last June. And according to, 19 kids from the class of 2010 have already been offered scholarships for next season, comparable to Nevada (21) and Utah (23), and way ahead of Oregon (seven) and Idaho (four).

"I think people have started to realize that it's more of a gold mine over there then they thought," McLaughlin said. "I've had a few people say to me, 'Man, did we miss a kid over there because we weren't paying attention.'"


Oregon State coach Mike Riley has been the Pac-10's biggest recruiter in recent years. Fifteen of the 46 Pac-10 players from Hawaii are Beavers, but the competition to recruit these players is at an all-time high.

Second-year UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel missed out on Te'o, but still managed to land Kapolei's Stan Hasiak, Kamehameha's Charles Soon and Punahou's Dalton Hilliard.

Hasiak is one of three guys from Hawaii expected to play big roles on the Bruins offensive line, joining starters Eddie Williams (Damien '06) and Kai Maiava (Baldwin '07), who sat out last year after transferring from Colorado, as part of a six- or seven-man rotation.

Hasiak is filling in for Mililani's Micah Kia (Mililani '06), who had surgery Tuesday on a torn ACL suffered during fall camp and will miss the entire season.

First-year Washington coach Steve Sarkisian added Punahou's Kimo Makaula and Hilo's Semisi Tokolahi to a roster including offensive lineman Mykenna Ikehara (Kamehameha '08), defensive end Kalani Aldrich (Kamehameha-Hawaii '07) and All-Pac-10 senior Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (Hawaii Prep '05).

Sarkisian has offers out to eight local recruits, including Mililani's Taz Stevenson, who said as recently as two weeks ago that the Huskies were still on top of his list.

Every Pac-10 team has at least one player from the islands including Washington State, which plays Hawaii in nine days. Senior offensive lineman Reed Lesuma (Kahuku '02) is the oldest of the bunch and defensive end Jordan Pu'u Robinson (Baldwin '09) is a true freshman.

Here's a look at some of the big games this weekend involving local athletes:

Utah State at No. 19 Utah

Kepa Gaison (Kamehameha '05) walked on his freshman year as a punter. He'll begin his senior year starting at linebacker. Gaison and junior Nai Fotu (Kahuku '07), who will start in place of injured Koa Misi at defensive end, will try to help the Utes extend the nation's longest winning streak to 15 games. Gaison had six tackles and two sacks in last year's Sugar Bowl against Alabama, convincing coaches he could play the position while moving Fotu back to defensive end.

No. 16 Oregon at No. 14 Boise State

Ducks quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (Saint Louis '06) kicks off his junior campaign with much hype after appearing on a regional cover of Sports Illustrated. Masoli, a dual threat who ran for 718 yards and 10 touchdowns and threw for 1,744 yards and 13 TDs last year, looks to build on a sophomore campaign that saw him named MVP of the Holiday Bowl against Oklahoma State.

Nevada at No. 23 Notre Dame

Te'o makes his much-anticipated debut for the Fighting Irish. His Punahou classmate, receiver Robby Toma, will likely red-shirt. Jared Silva-Purcell (Saint Louis '06) is the backup middle linebacker and Michael Andrews (Kalaheo '06) is a backup defensive tackle for the Wolf Pack, who have lost four of their last five season openers.


A total of 101 Hawaii high school players are on Division I (FBS) mainland football teams this year. Here they are:
Name College Class Ht Wt Pos. H.S.
B.J. Adolpho New Mexico St. Fr 5-11 215 LB Kahuku
Ka'ua Adolpho New Mexico St. Jr 6-1 237 DE Kahuku
Solomona Aigamaua California Soph 6-1 246 LB Saint Louis
Ikaika Aken-Moleta San Deigo St. Sr 6-2 295 OL Kapolei
Kalani Aldrich Washington Soph 6-7 250 DL Kamehameha-HI
Tyson Alualu California Sr 6-3 290 DL Saint Louis
Bruce Andrews Navy Soph 6-0 195 WR Kalaheo
Michael Andrews Nevada Soph 6-2 275 DL Kalaheo
Jay Angotti SMU Jr 5-10 208 DB Punahou
J.J. Autele San Diego St. Soph 6-1 245 DL Punahou
Kama Bailey Idaho Soph 5-9 200 RB Damien
R.J. Beatty Colorado Jr 6-2 220 LB Kahuku
Bryson Beirne Arizona Soph 6-3 225 QB Mid-Pacific
Daniel Bukarau Utah Jr 6-1 271 OL Kailua
Charles Clay SMU Fr 5-10 175 WR Hilo
Jojo Dickson Idaho Jr 6-2 229 LB Baldwin
Savali Eselu California Soph 6-3 251 TE Moanalua
Ramsey Feagai UNLV Jr 6-2 340 OL Radford
Sam Fehoko Texas Tech Soph 5-11 220 LB Farrington
Nai Fotu Utah Jr 6-0 240 DL Kahuku
Kepa Gaison Utah Sr 5-10 220 LB Kamehameha
Jray Galeai BYU Fr 6-0 193 DB Kahuku
Mana Greig Oregon Fr 5-11 285 OL Saint Louis
Spencer Hafoka BYU Soph 6-0 196 WR Kahuku
Stan Hasiak UCLA Fr 6-5 318 OL Kapolei
Brandon Hardin Oregon St. Soph 6-2 210 DB Kamehameha
Dalton Hilliard UCLA Fr 6-0 194 ATH Punahou
Marcus Holyfield SMU Fr 6-1 175 WR Mid-Pacific
Mykenna Ikehara Washington Fr 6-2 260 OL Kamehameha
Trask Iosefa San Diego St. Jr 6-0 290 OL Punahou
Daniel Ka'anana UNLV Fr 6-5 270 OL Kamehameha
Justin Kam Oregon Sr 6-1 188 DB Kamehameha
Keloni Kamalani Oregon Fr 5-11 205 LB Kamehameha-Maui
Kamu Kapanui UNLV Sr 6-0 245 LS Kamehameha
Wade Keli'ikipi Oregon Fr 6-3 285 DL Waianae
Devon Kell Oregon St. Fr 6-3 213 TE/LB Hilo
Micah Kia UCLA Sr 6-5 313 OL Mililani
Solomon Koehler Arizona Fr 6-3 335 OL Castle
Kaulin Krebs Oregon St. Fr 6-0 191 WR Kahuku
Isaiah Lavea Idaho Fr 6-2 298 DL Kamehameha
Shawn Lauvao Arizona St. Sr 6-3 305 OL Farrington
Reed Lesuma Washington St. Sr 6-4 311 OL Kahuku
Steve Lightsy San Jose St. Sr 6-4 345 OL Kahuku
Mikhail Mabry Kentucky Sr 6-2 248 LB Mililani
Kai Maiava UCLA Soph 6-1 309 OL Baldwin
Stanley Malamala Arizona St Sr 6-3 267 TE Lahainaluna
Kimo Makaula Washington Fr 6-2 248 FB Punahou
Abe Markowitz Southern Cal Fr 6-1 280 OL Punahou
Trendt Marsom Wyoming Fr 6-0 195 LB Kaimuki
Castro Masaniai Oregon St. Fr 6-2 296 DL Waipahu
Matt Masifilo Stanford Soph 6-3 285 DL Campbell

Name College Class Ht Wt Pos. H.S.
Jeremiah Masoli Oregon Jr 5-11 214 QB Saint Louis
Mike Matamua San Deigo St. Soph 6-4 290 OL Kapolei
Brian Matsumoto Arizona St Sr 6-0 177 WR Punahou
Wilder McAndrews Oregon St. Jr 6-4 288 OL Kamehameha
Lolomana Mikaele Arizona Jr 6-2 305 DL Damien
Manu Ngatikaura San Jose St. Jr 5-10 185 DB Kahuku
Aaron Nichols Oregon St. Jr 6-0 186 WR Kamehameha
Mika Nickel Utah St. Fr 6-2 246 DL Hawaii Prep
David Niumatalolo New Mexico St. Soph 6-2 265 DL Kahuku
Kaua Olds Oregon St. Fr 5-10 188 DB Castle
Cyril Ontai Navy Fr 5-10 205 FB Kapolei
David Pa'aluhi III Oregon St. Soph 5-11 233 LB Waianae
Kahikolu Pescaia Navy Fr 6-0 255 OL Kamehameha
Ryan Pohl Oregon St. Jr 6-3 284 OL Kamehameha
Jordan Pu'u Robinson Washington St. Fr 6-3 256 DL Baldwin
Mana Rosa Oregon St. Fr 6-3 245 DL Baldwin
Kapua Sai Utah Fr 6-5 319 OL Saint Louis
Thor Salanoa Utah Fr 6-2 210 LB Radford
Aaron Santiago Navy Soph 5-8 167 WR Kapolei
Kaipo Sarkissian Tulsa Sr 6-1 225 LB Kamehameha
Conrad Scheidt Idaho Fr 6-1 219 LB Kamehameha
Matt Shibata Navy Fr 6-0 194 WR Mid-Pacific
Kawika Shook New Mexico St. Jr 6-3 245 DE Kamehameha
Robert Siavii Idaho Soph 6-2 209 LB Leilehua
Jared Silva-Purcell Nevada Jr 5-11 220 LB Saint Louis
Michael Sipili Colorado Jr 6-1 240 LB Damien
Charles Soon UCLA Fr 5-10 165 WR Kamehameha
Braden Storaasli San Jose St. Jr 6-0 213 LB Damien
Ray Stowers Utah Sr 6-0 220 RB 'Iolani
Sione Tau Colorado Soph 6-5 325 OL Damien
Malo Taumua UNLV Jr 6-1 270 DL Aiea
Malosi Te'o BYU Fr 5-10 203 RB Kahuku
Manti Te'o Notre Dame Fr 6-2 224 LB Punahou
Shiloah Te'o BYU Soph 5-10 206 DB Kahuku
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim Washington Sr 6-4 263 DL Hawaii Prep
Sean Tesoro UNLV Fr 6-2 290 OL Baldwin
Aaron Tipoti California Fr 6-2 281 DL AOP
Semisi Tokolahi Washington Fr 6-2 340 DL Hilo
Robby Toma Notre Dame Fr 5-9 175 WR Punahou
Tonu Tuimalealiifano Oregon St. Soph 6-1 276 DL Farrington
Suaesi Tuimauneu Oregon St. Jr 6-1 207 DB Kahuku
Travis Uale BYU Soph 6-2 195 DB Kamehameha
Devin Unga Oregon St. Fr 6-1 215 LB Kahuku
Kevin Unga Oregon St. Fr 6-1 223 DL Kahuku
Kamaloni Vainikolo Utah St. Jr 6-2 280 DL Maui
Walker Vave Oregon St. Jr 6-2 240 LB Kahuku
Simione Vehikite Southern Cal Fr 6-0 245 FB Kapolei
Eddie Williams UCLA Jr 6-1 331 OL Damien
Tyler Williams Utah Sr 6-1 290 OL Kamehameha
RJ Willing BYU Sr 6-5 308 OL Kamehameha

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