HAWAII FOOTBALL RECRUITING
Kepo'o accepts UH offer for '07
First-team all-state quarterback Kiran Kepo'o has given Hawaii an oral commitment to play football for the Warriors in 2007.
The standout passer from Iolani will grayshirt, which means he will sit out the fall before enrolling at Manoa full-time next January.
"I feel pretty good," he said after meeting with family and counselors yesterday at the school. "It's new to all of us, this recruiting thing.
"They told me that they're guaranteeing me a scholarship in January. I feel pretty good about that. It's a really good opportunity for me."
Kepo'o, at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, was second in the Star-Bulletin's offensive player of the year voting.
"Their offense and ours, the similarity is that we run the same type of plays, our routes are the same," he said. "I go to their games and watch. Their screens are similar to ours. The formations and everything are the same. The difference is that the level of playing is a lot faster, so I'm looking forward to seeing how I'm gonna do."
Kepo'o is clear to take reps with the team in the spring while he's still an Iolani senior.
"Plus, my coach (Wendell Look) and I have talked about working with coach Joel (Lane)," he said of Iolani's quarterbacks coach. "Then I can work on the drills that UH wants me to do.
The Kepo'o family is happy.
"I'm glad he's staying home and I can watch him play. I was ready to go fly up and watch him play in California," said Ken Kepo'o, his father.
San Jose State, along with Arizona and UCLA, pulled back their interest over time, however. That works out for Hawaii, which will welcome Kepo'o, an honors student at Iolani.
"They want him to be there in the spring to do some reps, see what he's got. Coach (UH assistant Ron) Lee said right now they only have two quarterbacks (Colt Brennan and Tyler Graunke). The possibility remains that UH would give Kepo'o a scholarship to play this fall, if needed.
"He might eventually be one snap from starting," Ken Kepo'o added. "They'd like to grayshirt him, then redshirt him, so he can play after Colt (Brennan) graduates. He'd be really matured by then."
Kahuku defensive back Afa Bridenstine and Damien center Eddie Williams will also grayshirt and join the Warriors. Bridenstine (6-1, 183) and Williams (6-0, 280) will enroll at UH in January.
Kamehameha wide receiver Aaron Nichols is also considering a grayshirt offer from UH. He has grown to 6-1 and 180 pounds since last measured in the summer of 2005.
Pascual to Mississippi Valley: Esrom Pascual knows about moving places.
The 5-foot-11, 292-pound senior started his high school life at Kamehameha, transferred to Baldwin as a junior and has been at Saint Louis since the beginning of his senior year.
Playing football for Mississippi Valley State in the fall won't leave the Crusaders offensive guard overwhelmed. Pascual gave an oral commitment to play for Jerry Rice's alma mater on Sunday.
"I heard they were interested in me about it a month ago. I was thinking, that's the South. That's far," said Pascual, who actually doesn't mind the distance. His parents will move to Houston soon, and he has a grandmother in Kansas City, Mo.
The Star-Bulletin second-team All-State pick won't be the only islander player there. Kamehameha defensive back/punter Drew Ueno also gave MVSU his oral commitment.
Ueno is an all-state first-team punter.
"He's my friend, too, 'cause I went to school with him," said Pascual, who was intrigued with the idea of playing at the Division I-AA school. "I have a chance to be in the rotation," he said.
Back in Rice's era, the program had a wild set of passing formations.
"I know he set a bunch of records there," Pascual said. "But it's kind of balanced now. They do pass a lot."
TV exposure: ESPNU plans to cover a press conference for letter-of-intent signees tomorrow morning at Kapolei Hale.
The event will be hosted by Mayor Mufi Hannemann and the Pacific Islands Athletic Alliance.
With press conferences around the country set for noon, EST, the 7 a.m. event at Kapolei fits in perfectly.