Punahou’s Uperesa follows brother’s path to Manoa
It wasn't Waikiki or The Strip.
It was brother or uncle.
Of course there were other considerations. But either way, Drew Uperesa would be following family.
Hawaii high school players
» Solomona Aigamaua, DE, Saint Louis to California
» Kalani Aldrich, DE, Kamehameha-Hawaii to Washington
» Josh Andrews, LB, Mililani to Navy
» Bryson Beirne, QB, Pac-Five to Arizona
» Jojo Dixon, LB, Baldwin to Idaho
» Savaii Eselu, TE, Moanalua to California
» Sam Fehoko, DE, Farrington to Texas Tech
» Malone Fiso, DL, Kahuku to Weber State
» Nai Fotu, DL, Kahuku to Utah
» Kaneakua Friel, TE, Kamehameha to BYU
» Brandon Hardin, DB, Kamehameha to Oregon State
» Sifa Heimuli, LB, Kahuku to Weber State
» Brett Kan, QB, Punahou to Princeton
» Joshua Manupuna, DT, Kamehameha to Portland State
» Castro Masaniai, DL, Waipahu to Oregon State
» Matthew Masifilo, DE, Campbell to Stanford
» Michael Matamua, OL, Kapolei to San Diego State
» Marc Moody, LB, Saint Louis to Mississippi Valley State
» Gary Nagy, DB, Kahuku to BYU
» David Paaluhi, DE, Waianae to Oregon State
» Thor Salanoa, DE, Radford to Utah
» Aaron Santiago, SB, Kapolei to Navy
» Scott Smith, DE, Saint Louis to California
» Sione Tau, OL, Damien to Arizona
» Kaniela Tuipulotu, DT, Kahuku to Arizona
» Ana Tuiasasopo, OL, Saint Louis to New Mexico State
» Alex Tupulua, OL, Waianae to Weber State
» Jonah Venenciano, C-LS, Kamehameha to New Mexico State
Local UH commitments
» George Kauwalu, OLB/S, Waianae
» Levi Legay, OL, Kealakehe
» Elijah Lesu, S, Farrington
» John Manu-Olevao, OL, Kahuku
» Vaughn Meatoga, DL, Kamehameha
» Miah Ostrowski, SB, Punahou
» Gabe Tuata, SB, Kealakehe
» Drew Uperesa, OL, Punahou
other UH commitments
» Austin Hansen, OL, Valencia (Calif.) High School
» Ray Hisatake, DT, San Mateo (Calif.) JC
» Leon Jackson, RB, Nebraska
» Kevin Konrath, LB, Brother Rice (Chicago) High School
» Chris Leatigaga, DE, Foothills (Calif.) JC
» Matagisila Lefiti, OL, Mater Dei High School (Calif.)
» Josh Leonard, DE, Sierra (Calif.) JC
» Francis Maka, OLB, San Mateo (Calif.) JC
» Ryan Mouton, CB, Blinn (Texas) JC
» Korey Reynolds, DL, Hoover (Ala.) High School
» Erik Robinson, S, Navarro (Texas) JC
On the trail: Hawaii wants a quick answer from CB Calvin Roberts (San Mateo JC), who visited this weekend. Two other corners -- 6-0, 180 Terrell Coles (Cerritos JC) and 6-0, 170 Deyon McElroy -- are waiting in the wings. Roberts, who is 6-0, 185 and said he has been timed at 4.43 in the 40 (electronic) said it's "50-50" between UH and San Jose State, and he said he expected to call Hawaii coaches with an answer before the Super Bowl today. He said he enjoyed his visit. "I thought it was cool, especially the people." ... LB Corey Paredes (Castle High) visited, but was not offered. ... CB Richard Torres (Kahuku High) is also a walk-on candidate, but may go to a small school on the mainland. ... QB Cannon Smith, who visted UH last month, is being recruited by Miami. ... OL Austin Hansen (Valencia High, Calif.) committed to UH last week.
Dave Reardon, Star-Bulletin
The Punahou offensive tackle decided on Hawaii over UNLV, accepting a scholarship offer from the Warriors yesterday. His brother, Dane, was a three-year starter at UH who is now in Houston getting ready for the NFL Combine. His uncle, Keith, is an assistant coach with the Rebels.
"I started going to the games because of Dane and after five years I've become a fan," Drew Uperesa said.
Uperesa (6-feet-2, 245 pounds) said the plan is for him to enroll at Manoa in January 2008. In the meanwhile, he'll have time to bulk up and prepare for the rigors of Division I.
"I really like the idea of grayshirting," Uperesa said.
He said he enjoyed his Manoa visit over the weekend, which was hosted by offensive lineman Aaron Kia.
Kauwalu likely JC-bound: Hawaii commit George Kauwalu of Waianae leads a class of eight isle recruits who will sign with Arizona Western College on Wednesday.
The two-year school's haul is the biggest of any institution. In addition to All-State defensive player of the year Kauwalu, who does not expect to meet UH's academic standards, AWC has landed Travis Nua of Waianae, Bronson Lee of Hilo and Maeli Siliga, Elisha Faasu, Manu Tonga, Hercules Sula and Fetalaiga Fatu of Farrington.
Islands to desert: When Kahuku defensive spark plug Nai Fotu went on a trip to Arizona last weekend, he wasn't the only islander in the desert.
Leilehua defensive end Viliami Haunga was also there. Haunga, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound senior, had been waiting on further movement with Oregon State before Arizona stepped in.
Haunga, who suffered a wrist injury in the HUB Goodwill Senior Bowl, has also drawn interest from Hawaii.
Another Leilehua defensive end, Afe Taleai, is visiting New Mexico State this weekend.
All-State first-team quarterback Bryant Moniz has several small-college opportunities available, but has also been offered the chance to walk on at D-I schools. Hawaii, Oregon State, UNLV and Washington have invited the 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior.
He passed for 1,662 yards and 20 touchdowns with just seven interceptions as Leilehua reached the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference semifinals.
"(UH quarterbacks coach Dan) Morrison said he'd talk to June (Jones). I don't think June knows about him yet," Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda said.
Vandal-ized: It was a chance encounter, almost, that left Idaho with a new recruit. Scott Mahoney, father of Baldwin All-State offensive lineman Kai Maiava, passed on a DVD that contained footage of Bears linebacker Jojo Dixon.
The Vandals coaches liked what they saw, and Dixon will sign with Idaho on letter-of-intent day, which is Wednesday.
Dixon had not been recruited by any other school.
Maiava, meanwhile, has explored his options, many of which came late in the recruiting season. He has narrowed his list to Colorado and New Mexico State.
Satele in the South: Pac-Five fullback Liko Satele has an offer from I-AA Mississippi Valley State. The 6-2, 250-pound Word of Life senior could follow a growing number of islanders to the alma mater of Jerry Rice.
Other MVSU commits this year are Saint Louis linebacker/ safety Marc Moody and Mililani long snapper Aaron Dutrow.
Big Sky for Ho-Ching?: Pac-Five wide receiver/running back Jordan Ho-Ching has offers from Northern Arizona and Montana Western. NAU is a member of the Big Sky Conference (Division I-AA), while Montana Western is in the NAIA.
Ho-Ching caught 44 passes for 673 yards and ran for 414 yards on 51 carries. The Maryknoll senior was an All-State first-team selection as a utility player.
Trojan to the Navy: Mililani coach James Millwood retired last week, but he's still very involved with his players' futures. Millwood confirmed that middle linebacker Josh Andrews has given Navy an oral commitment.
"He went there (Annapolis) and got to see it with his own eyes," Millwood said of the 6-2, 220-pound All-State first-team linebacker. "He said he liked it."
Tau weighing options: Damien offensive lineman Sione Tau committed to Arizona months ago, but the reality is, he's split between the Wildcats and his original suitor, Colorado.
Colorado made Tau an offer early in the season, but gave him a quick deadline. The 6-foot-6, 285-pound senior chose to wait, and CU moved on.
Tau later committed to Arizona, and now that one of CU's other prospects has dropped out of the picture, the Buffaloes are stampeding back into Tau's life.
He has visited both campuses and enjoyed both. He likes both coaching staffs. Deciding on pros and cons for Tau is a fruitless process.
"It was stressful at first," Tau said. "But after some talks with my friends and family, I'm doing all right."
Day of reckoning: Wednesday is the big day for fall athletes who are going to sign with universities.
Along with signatures on dotted lines by parents and student-athletes come press conferences at a few schools. The biggest event is hosted by Pacific Islands Athletic Alliance at Kapolei Hale.
The signing will take place at 7 a.m. and will include coverage by USA Today, according to PIAA executive director Doris Sullivan. Many of the state's top recruits will be there, as will Mayor Mufi Hannemann.