CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Newcomer Brashton Satele went through drills on the first day of spring practice for the Warriors on Tuesday.
Brashton Satele lost 25 pounds in the hopes of getting on the field more
Brashton Satele showed up for spring practice with a lean and hungry look about him.
The Hawaii linebacker reported for the start of the Warriors' spring session this week some 25 pounds lighter than when he arrived on the Manoa campus last summer, and craving a taste of the action following a redshirt season.
"I feel like a different person on the field," Satele said after the team's first workout of the spring.
Name: Brashton Satele
High school: Word of Life
Honors: 2005 Stanford Invitational Discus Champion; '05 Gatorade Player of the Year; Nissan Hawaii Hall of Honor
Parents: Alvis and Lee Ann (Pestana)
Satele gained speed and quickness by shedding the extra pounds and is expected to contend for playing time among a group of young and talented linebackers in the fall.
This spring, he's continuing his education in the Warriors' defensive packages as he prepares to return to the field, joining a line of family members to suit up for UH.
"I'm very hungry, but there's a lot of good guys at linebacker so it's going to be a big competition with all of us," he said.
Satele, a 2005 graduate of Word of Life Academy, joined the Warriors last summer carrying 265 pounds on a sturdy 6-foot-1 frame. Although he passed the team's conditioning test to open fall camp, Satele knew he needed to drop some weight as he adjusted to the college game over the course of a redshirt season.
After the season ended in December, he devoted himself to a daily regimen of weightlifting followed by running to pick up the speed needed to run down ballcarriers. He also paid closer attention to his diet, cutting down on the cheeseburgers at the UH cafeterias, and checked in for the spring around 240.
His new look has already impressed the Warriors coaches.
"What really shows is his speed," UH linebackers coach Cal Lee said. "You never have enough guys who can run to the ball and you've got to like that. I'm real happy the way he's come along and his attitude has been excellent."
UH defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville said Satele will get a look at both inside and outside linebacker.
"With his ability we're going to look at him at both spots," Glanville said. "We haven't done anything yet, but just watching him last year I think he can help us at both places."
Satele's UH roots run deep, as his parents, former UH linebacker Alvis Satele and Rainbow Wahine volleyball standout Lee Ann (Pestana) Satele, both competed for the school, as did his uncle Joe Onosai. Current Warriors Samson and Hercules Satele and Melila Purcell are also cousins.
"Alvis relied on tremendous athleticism and speed and Brashton has a lot of that," said UH defensive backs coach Rich Miano, who played with Alvis Satele with the Rainbows.
"I see a lot of Lee Ann (in Brashton), too. He's got great bloodlines. He's everything you'd want in a player."
Satele's brother, A.J., is also an athlete in the University of Hawaii system as a first baseman with the UH-Hilo baseball team.
Not only is Brashton following his father as a swift linebacker, he's also the current owner of the No. 13 his dad wore from 1981 to 1984.
"It's big shoes to fill, coming in with my dad's number and everything," the younger Satele said, "but I think I can do it. I'm working hard, busting my butt."
Satele's combination of speed, size and strength contributed to successful high school careers in both football and track and field competing for Pac-Five.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Brashton Satele practiced stripping the ball from the ballcarrier at UH football practice.
He was a Star-Bulletin first-team All-State football pick as a senior, and won two state championships in the discus and ran the 100 meters and 4x100 relay with the Wolfpack track team.
Satele rarely left the field in high school, playing running back on offense and linebacker on defense for Pac-Five. So sitting out his first year as a redshirt proved an uncomfortable fit at first. But he grew to appreciate the role later in the season, as the year off allowed him time to acclimate to college while developing physically.
"At first it was hard, but as the season was coming to an end I kind of realized it was a blessing to have redshirted," he said. "So I don't mind at all."
Satele is part of a crop of promising linebackers battling for playing time next season. Solomon Elimimian returns on the inside after leading UH with 83 tackles as a freshman last season. Adam Leonard, who played in eight games as a freshman as well, is also working with the first unit this spring.
"I've never seen guys train the way they have; they've raised the bar as far as expectations," Lee said. "For the guys inside, I can't be any happier than I am the way they're taking this football season very, very serious."
Glanville is also excited about the depth at linebacker as the Warriors look to solidify a defense that ranked 102nd nationally in yards allowed last season, his first on the UH coaching staff.
"You make your biggest improvement your second year and I think we're going to make a leap," Glanville said.