HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Mainland scouts are all over isle football talent
There are no secrets anymore. The reasons are numerous.
From Hanapepe to Kealakehe, football players are harder than ever to ignore by mainland recruiters.
Already, a handful of local players have made commitments to Division I schools. More have already gone on official visits in recent weeks, while many others will have airline tickets in hand for December trips.
The 26 football student-athletes who committed to Division I schools last year may be eclipsed this season. There are fewer obvious standouts, but quite possibly more depth at many positions.
But whether there simply is more talent in recent years is debatable. With a rising number of coaches who comb the islands for talent -- some of local origin -- there are simply more connections.
With letter-of-intent day still two months away, here's an early look at key local players and their status.
Kamuela Alisa (5-foot-11, 206) and Malosi Te'o (6-0, 205) of Kahuku stand out as potential D-I signees, but as of right now, Damien's Kealoha Pilares (5-9, 175) is the lone running back to make a visit.
The talented scholar-athlete has visited Boise State and plans to take a trip to San Diego State (Dec. 19).
Iolani's Kiran Kepo'o (6-2, 220 pounds) leads a group of quality passers. Kamehameha-Hawaii's Mana Silva, at 6-2, fits the model and has arm strength similar to Kepo'o's.
Baldwin's Kalehua Moniz (23 touchdowns, nine interceptions) and Kapolei's Brad Padayao are quick scramblers with play-making ability. Moniz may have the best gun on the move.
No commitments yet, but Aaron Nichols of Kamehameha and Cameron Bayne of Saint Louis fit the bill with size and good hands. Nichols (6-0, 168 pounds) was the most productive deep threat in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu. He benches 185 pounds 10 times.
Konawaena senior Cody Silsley was a standout at mainland camps during the summer. The 6-foot 175-pounder followed up with 60 receptions, 1,051 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Wildcats this fall.
Silsley runs a 4.46 40 and does 12 reps in the 185 bench press.
Kahuku's Devin Unga, at 6-1, 201, isn't a prototype at the college level, but his athleticism should land him on the playing field in some capacity.
Radford's Mike Goodman doesn't have gaudy statistics, but literally has a big upside at 6-6, 250.
This is the bounty recruiters search for when coming to the islands. This season is no different.
Ryan Pohl (6-4, 245) of Kamehameha committed to Oregon State during the summer and remains a solid D-I product.
Whitley Fehoko (6-1, 295) of Farrington committed to Utah during the summer, but is openly visiting other schools. Boise State has also extended a scholarship offer, while Oklahoma, BYU, San Diego State and UNLV have offered trips.
Micah Kia (6-5, 290) of Mililani overcame a broken fibula to return to the field late in the season for the Trojans. Despite his injury, the following scholarship offers stand for Kia: Hawaii, UCLA, Boise State, Washington, New Mexico State, Utah, Colorado, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Oregon, Cal and San Diego State.
Kawika Shook (6-3, 265), another Kamehameha lineman, has a scholarship offer from New Mexico State.
Joseph Faifili, Kahuku's mammoth in the trenches, has a scholarship offer from San Diego State. The 6-3, 280-pound senior was the anchor of the state's top defensive front.
Damien's talented seniors include tackles Lolomana Mikaele and Michael Sipili.
Mikaele (6-2, 260) has a scholarship offer from New Mexico State.
Sipili (6-1, 240) has a scholarship offer from New Mexico State, as well as a trip offer from San Diego State.
Elliott Purcell (6-1, 216) committed to New Mexico State last week following his trip to the campus. The Aggies have also offered a scholarship to Radford's Russell Wantowski (6-1, 210).
Konawaena's Dylan Rush (6-3, 230), who also plays tight end, committed to UCLA during the summer.
B.J. Beatty (6-2, 220) of Kahuku has scholarship offers from Hawaii, Utah and New Mexico State.
Kamehameha's Kapono Rawlins-Crivello (6-1, 238) committed to Boise State during the summer. The Molokai native still has a scholarship offer from New Mexico State.
Moanalua's Quinton Tang (5-11, 215) has received strong interest from Hawaii, Washington and Boise State, among others.
Stanford Leti (6-0, 190), Moanalua's quarterback, is also drawing interest from Hawaii, Washington and Boise State. Leti also played safety for the Menehunes.
Tang and Leti, both weight-room devotees, scored well in the Nike Camp at USC and the Just Win Camp on Maui.
Former Kahuku and Punahou running back Micah Strickland, who graduated in June, has been invited to walk on at Oregon State. Strickland was granted eligibility by the NCAA in October following a mixup with his paperwork at Kahuku.
Former Punahou offensive lineman Trask Iosefa held off enrollment at San Diego State, but has already gone to the Aztecs' campus in preparation for the upcoming spring semester.
Extra points: The East and West squads of the HUB Senior Bowl get together for a banquet tomorrow. The teams already had an activity at Hawaiian Water Adventure Park on yesterday, which is part of the "bowl week" theme the HUB sought this year. Practices resume on Tuesday. The game, celebrating its 15th season, will be played Friday at Aloha Stadium, 7 p.m.