DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
New Hawaii offensive tackle Ray Hisatake (No. 64) grabbed new defensive end Francis Maka at practice yesterday. Hisatake and Maka have inherited numbers from accomplished players.
Knowing their numbers
Warrior newcomers are familiar with the legacies that come with their jerseys
So what's in a number?
For a few Hawaii football players, their uniform assignment comes with a little more to uphold.
As several members of last season's senior class look to earn jobs in the NFL, the numbers they were associated with at UH have been handed down to others working to make names for themselves with the Warriors.
"You have to make that number," said sophomore defensive lineman Paul Harmon, who was given the No. 91 jersey worn by Ikaika Alama-Francis the last three years. "You have to make people remember it and talk about you. It's a lot of legacy; I have big shoes to fill."
UH head coach June Jones said he doesn't put much weight on the number a player wears, but for some players the designation goes beyond mere identification.
"Having this number meant a lot to me," said junior transfer Ray Hisatake, who has assumed No. 64 from Samson Satele.
"They gave me this number and I knew I had to live up to it. We all know Samson was a great athlete and was a great player for UH, so wearing this number makes me want to work harder."
Here's a look at some of the names that go along with last year's prominent numbers:
The legacy: Peters held on to the number for six years as he battled through injuries over his career to earn first-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors as a senior. Last season, he finished third on the team in tackles and intercepted three passes, returning two for touchdowns.
"I was really shocked," Galdeira said. "I was just trying out for the team and they gave me this number."
At 5-foot-6 and 184 pounds, Galdeira doesn't have the physical stature of his predecessor and is hoping to make the team for the fall. His brother, Guyton, is a junior defensive back. But he does have the hair to go with the number.
"(The players) have little jokes, that I have long hair just like (Peters)," Galdeira said.
This year: Ray Hisatake
The legacy: The UH starting offensive line included No. 64 for every game over the past four years. An All-WAC pick, Satele is rated among the top center prospects in the upcoming draft.
Hisatake (6-foot-3, 328 pounds) was a heralded junior college defensive tackle at College of San Mateo, but was moved to offensive tackle when he enrolled at UH this spring.
"I'm getting the stuff down really quick. It's new and exciting," Hisatake said. "The adjustment is still pretty difficult because as a D-lineman you're always taught to attack, attack, attack, and go to the ball. On offense you have to sit and be patient."
This year: Daniel Otineru
The legacy: Like Satele, Esera was a four-year fixture on the offensive line. He played with a mean streak and had the responsibility of protecting Colt Brennan's blind side last year as the quarterback racked up record stats.
Otineru, a 6-1, 303-pound junior originally from Kapolei, transferred from St. Francis College, and his number isn't the only area where he's replacing an accomplished senior.
"Right on top of my locker there's a sign that says, 'Dane Uperesa' on it," said Otineru. "So you're reminded about that every day. I don't try to think about it too much when I'm on the field."
This year: Paul Harmon
The legacy: Alama-Francis transformed himself from a lanky basketball player into a powerful defensive end in three years, and positioned himself to be the first Warrior taken in this weekend's draft.
Harmon is in his third year in the program and was excited to see the jersey in his locker at the start of the spring after working alongside Alama-Francis in practice.
"I came to practice and there it was and I automatically knew I had some big shoes to fill because Ikaika's a really good defensive end, a really good player and a really good person," Harmon said. "I was pleased because I really look up to him."
This year: Francis Maka
The legacy: Purcell led the Warriors in tackles for loss last season with 15.5, including a team-high 9.5 sacks. Maka, an outside linebacker in junior college, is adjusting to playing defensive end in the Warriors' 4-3 alignment.
He chose 98 to match his number at College of San Mateo. He is paying his way to school this semester and will go on scholarship in the fall.
"I saw (Purcell) a few days ago, but I never got a chance to talk to him," Maka said. "I was a little intimidated, I was just sitting over to the side."