Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Hawaii lands 2 recruits
with brotherly ties

Daniel Tautofi and Ray Bass
will join their older brothers
on the Warriors' squad

By Dave Reardon and Jason Kaneshiro,

In the old days, the Noga and Kafentzis clans taught Hawaii football coaches and fans to embrace the concept of brotherly love. Yesterday the Warriors plucked some ripe prospects from two other family trees.

Two younger siblings of UH players committed to Hawaii yesterday, as cornerback Ray Bass (Centennial High School, Corona, Calif.) and linebacker Daniel Tautofi (Kaimuki High School) agreed to accept scholarships.

Next week Wednesday is the first day they can sign national letters of intent and make the commitments binding.

Bass is the brother of UH junior running back Mike Bass, and Tautofi's older brother, defensive lineman Darrell, is a junior college transfer who also joins the Warriors this fall.

Ray Bass is 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds. He is one of the fastest players in California, with a verified 40-yard time of 4.31 (the fastest time at a Nike camp last summer). His vertical jump of 40.4 inches was also best at the camp, which was attended by several hundred players.

Bass will get his first look at Hawaii on defense, although he could contribute as a kick and punt returner and on offense at wide receiver or slotback.

Arizona, Cal, Colorado State, Washington State, Kansas and Fresno State were among the other schools Bass considered.

He visited the first three, and canceled a trip to WSU set for this week after returning from Hawaii on Sunday.

Although Bass admits reuniting with his brother - whom he considers a very good friend - was a big consideration, it wasn't the only one factoring into his decision.

"I felt real comfortable there," Bass said of his visit to Manoa. "It felt like a real good choice. I talked to the academic counselors and I liked what I heard."

Bass also said he was impressed by UH athletic director Herman Frazier.

"He's a pretty cool guy," Bass said.

Tautofi is 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds. He was defensive player of the year in the Oahu Interscholastic Association White Conference. A Star-Bulletin all-state basketball player last year, Tautofi wants to walk-on to the UH hoops team.

He looks forward to teaming with Darrell.

"I look at my brother as a role model and having him be there reminds me of the first time I ever played football, my freshman year when I played with him," Daniel said. "I just thought it would be pretty cool for my family to actually watch both of us play."

Another Tautofi brother, David, is a senior defensive lineman at UCLA. Yet another, Darren, plays at Dixie College and might join Darrell and Daniel at UH next year. And Dexter will be a junior defensive end at Kaimuki in the fall.

Daniel said his decision to go to Hawaii over Oregon and Penn State was cemented on his visit over the weekend.

"I had a great time on my trip this weekend and the coaches are great people," he said. "I've always wanted to play professional football and this might be the closest thing I can get, to play for (coach) June Jones."

Rodd to ASU: Aiea offensive lineman Brandon Rodd, the Star-Bulletin's No. 6-ranked prospect in the state, made an oral commitment to Arizona State yesterday. Rodd chose the Wildcats over Hawaii, Oregon, San Diego State and Washington State.

"I like the people, the coaches, the program," said Rodd, who visited Tempe over the weekend. "I know I'll be homesick, but there are people there who are from Hawaii and they get through it. They said they'll help me, cook me musubi and laulau. It's time for me to grow up and be a man. And they don't have a left tackle, so I could get a chance to play right away.

"Hawaii will always be home and it will always be here later."

On the trail: Running back Mike Liti of Foothill High School in Santa Ana, Calif., said last night Hawaii is not out of the running, but Utah - which he visited last weekend - is his favorite school at this point. He is leaving his options open, also mulling offers from Boise State, Colorado State and Idaho. ... Saint Louis defensive end Wilson Afoa will choose between UH and Washington State today, his mother, Sally, said. ... Farrington linebacker Paulo Feagai and Campbell tight end Gino Venti have both chosen Pasadena City College.

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