Oregon State lands a pair of isle defenders
The Hawaii-to-Corvallis pipeline is gushing just nicely for Oregon State.
The Beavers have secured oral commitments from David Paaluhi and Brandon Hardin, who are among the top defensive recruits in the state. Both players committed while visiting the school over the weekend, Paaluhi said.
Paaluhi, a quick, strong defensive end from Waianae, is a Star-Bulletin All-State third-team selection. The 6-foot, 218-pound senior was also offered scholarships from Hawaii and Washington, even though he did not play football in his first three years of high school.
Hardin is a 6-2 1/2, 190-pound Kamehameha cornerback who was voted to the Star-Bulletin All-State first team. He was the only local defensive back given a scholarship offer by Hawaii.
For most of the season, the Warriors were the only team to make an offer to the speedy Hardin. He was overlooked by other schools, perhaps, because he was only 5-foot-11 until growing in the past two years.
Oregon State and Boise State entered the picture late in the year.
Paaluhi attended Kamehameha until his senior year, but did not play football there. He is one of the state's top wrestlers in the 215-pound weight class.
The abundance of former Kamehameha players at Oregon State was a factor in his decision.
"The engineering program is real good and there's lots of local players there, people I used to go to school with, like Aaron Nichols, Ryan Pohl, Ikaika Rodenhurst," he said of his Kamehameha friends.
The environment in Corvallis suited Paaluhi well, so much so that he canceled a visit to Washington set for next weekend.
"It's a smaller town. The coaching staff is real good, real nice. There's less distractions," he said. "Seattle's a big city. I just felt welcomed at Oregon State."
The Huskies are not giving up, even though Paaluhi made his decision. Assistant Chris Tormey intends to visit the Paaluhi residence this morning.
Paaluhi's heart was with Hawaii early in the process.
"I talked to UH even before I got offers from other schools," said Paaluhi, an honor-roll student. "At first, I wanted to go to Hawaii. I didn't even want to go to the mainland. As time went by, I was leaning toward Oregon State."
Oregon State snapped Hawaii's nine-game win streak on Dec. 2, winning 35-32 at Aloha Stadium. There were 14 players from the islands on the Beavers' roster this season.