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Sunday, December 12, 2004



[ HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL ]


Kane weighing his
many options

At 6-foot-3 and 285 pounds, Mika Kane is probably strong enough to lift any car with a flat tire.

But when Kapolei lineman Ikaika Aken-Moleta's ride -- his grandparents' van -- was in need of a jack after a recent practice for the HUB Goodwill Classic, Kane let modern technology do the work. There will be plenty of time for heavy lifting in the near future.

The Kamehameha defensive tackle pondered his future after the HUB Goodwill Classic West All-Star team's practice Thursday. Kane returned from Cal a few weeks ago with plenty of optimism. Visits to San Diego State (Dec. 17), Oregon State (Jan. 7) and Michigan State (tentatively Jan. 14) are lined up. But then again, there was the call.

Urban Meyer picked up his phone and called Kane recently after the Utah coach was hired by Florida.

"He explained the situation. He said, 'At Utah, I liked you and Tyson (Alualu).' He likes Polynesian kids, and no matter where he goes, wants some," Kane said. "I thought, SEC? Holy crap."

Kane is big on Cal, though. If he does visit Florida, Kane believes it'll be a 50-50 pick between the two schools. At this point, he ranks his favorites as: 1. Cal, 2. Oregon State, 3. Michigan State, 4. San Diego State.

Hawaii, in dire need of defensive linemen, is still in the picture.

"They want me to visit, but I'm holding on," Kane said. A student-athlete is permitted no more than five official visits.

"Plus, I want to go away. Except for the Cal trip, I've only been off this rock once, and that was when I was a baby," he said.

For a time, Kane's mother wanted nothing more than to see him attend BYU.

"My dad and me talked with her. She doesn't know a lot about college football," Kane said. "Now, they support whatever I decide."


Hawaii's Top College Prospects

A position-by-position look at some of the state's best high school players:

Offensive Line
Arguably the deepest and most talented position in this and all seasons. Six of the top eight here are leaning toward the mainland.

The cream of this crop, Kailua's Kainoa LaCount, is bluntly undecided.

While they wait on the results of his recent SAT, Colorado, Idaho and Hawaii remain in close contact with the 6-foot-6, 305-pound senior.

He insists that he is 6-7, but recruiters love him just the same.

Raphael Ieru, McKinley's 6-4, 315-pound anchor, is also getting a lot of aloha from coaches. With a 3.4 GPA, he's already NCAA qualified. He has trips to San Diego State, Arizona State and Hawaii lined up.

Kapolei's Ikaika Aken-Moleta (6-2, 315) already has trips to Oregon State and Oregon lined up for January. However, Tennessee inquired with his coach, Darren Hernandez, Thursday morning. The Volunteers, as well as Hawaii, are interested in him as a defensive lineman.

Shawn Lauvao boarded an 11:30 p.m. flight Friday, shortly after the HUB Goodwill Classic. He is visiting Cal, and will also visit Arizona State, Oregon, Boise State and San Diego State. The onslaught of interest picked up only within the past two weeks. He's already a qualifier (3.7 GPA, 980 SAT). Hawaii was initially not overly interested in the 6-3, 310-pound Farrington student-athlete.

Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (Hawaii Prep) and Aaron Kia (Mililani) are leaning toward Hawaii. Both are long, lean and athletic, very much the way UH offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh likes his blockers. Te'o-Nesheim is 6-3, 235, and Kia is 6-4, 255. Trask Iosefa (Punahou) and Tyler Williams (Kamehameha) will travel quite a bit this holiday season. Iosefa (6-1, 305) will likely visit Tulane, and has drawn interest from Arizona State and Washington.

"He's further along than (Derek) Fa'avi was at his age," Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said. Fa'avi is Hawaii's starting center.

Williams has trips lined up to San Diego State, Washington and Tennessee.

Tight End
Waika Spencer and Stanley Malamala are drawing interest.

Spencer, a 6-4, 220-pound multi-sport standout, suffered a knee injury in the state tournament semifinals. Before the injury, he was rated No. 4 in the state by Rivals.com.

Malamala, at 6-3, 220 pounds, has excellent speed and good hands. Like Spencer, he is a qualifier.

Wide Receiver
Spencer Hafoka, Jon Santos, Isaac Laupola and Shaun Kauleinamoku have attracted the most attention.

Hafoka had been leaning toward Utah until Meyer left for Florida. The 6-foot, 180-pound Kahuku speedster is now leaning toward Hawaii.

San Diego State, Boise State and Hawaii have targeted Mililani's Santos, a 6-foot, 180-pound receiver who has high yards-after-catch numbers.

Laupola said he will need high SAT scores to become a qualifier. He was timed at 4.3 in the 40 at a summer combine, with a regular 4.4 mark. He also played defensive back and returned kicks for Campbell.

Kauleinamoku, at 5-7 and 165 pounds, heard mainly from small colleges until the past week. Hawaii is showing more interest now.

Running Back
Micah Strickland had opportunities, but apparently has turned off some recruiters, including Utah, for various reasons. He is a qualifier, however, and there still may be a school that will work with the talented youngster.

Damien Torres (Kailua) and Jayson Rego (Kamehameha), who led the OIA East and ILH, respectively, in rushing, are waiting patiently.

Saint Louis' Kevin Sullivan has drawn interest from Air Force, Rhode Island and SMU. Unlike Torres and Rego, Sullivan is more of a straight-ahead runner who would fit in option-type offenses.

Quarterback
Kekoa Crowell and Stanley Nihipali are on the bubble.

Crowell had Colorado's interest for some time, but the Buffaloes have backed off. He will meet with San Diego State this weekend.

Nihipali has bounced back from a midseason shoulder separation, impressing coaches during HUB practices. Both Crowell and Nihipali played in run-and-shoot offenses.

Defensive Tackle
Alualu and Kane may be thinking of the mainland, but Aiea's Rocky Savaiigaea is leaning toward Hawaii.

Savaiigaea, who is waiting on his SAT results, had been interested in Utah until Meyer left.

His teammate, Malo Taumua, could be the sleeper of the season. He's close to becoming a qualifier. Taumua (6-2, 295) will visit Utah in January.

Defensive End
Brashton Satele of Pac-Five (Word of Life) has already made a verbal commitment to Hawaii, fulfilling a lifelong dream. He played linebacker and running back in high school.

Oregon State is showing strong interest in Jake Ingrams, a recent Mililani graduate.

Inside Linebacker
Blaze Soares and B.J. Fruean are in the spotlight. Soares, a three-year starter for Castle, has filled out his 6-2 frame and is now 210 pounds. He will visit San Diego State soon, and Hawaii is also interested. Fruean, of Leilehua, drew interest from Hawaii early on. He is close to becoming an NCAA qualifier.

Punahou's Tysan Pa'aga, at 6-1, 220, runs a 4.65 40. He had early interest from Arizona State, Oregon State and Colorado, among others.

Outside Linebacker
Kaluka Maiava of Baldwin made a verbal commitment to USC during the summer. Maiava has a tremendous combination of speed and power.

Defensive Back
Kahuku's Al Afalava will visit BYU, Oregon State and Washington. Tennessee and Hawaii are also showing interest.

On the Bubble
Mililani's Sene Ma'afala was an offensive lineman for the duration of his prep career. Oregon State and Hawaii, however, may be interested in the 6-1, 372-pound senior as a nose guard. Academics will be the key factor.



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