McMackin keeps on recruiting
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It was trial by fire when Greg McMackin was introduced as Hawaii's football coach in January.
A blitz to beat a three-week recruiting deadline resulted in 22 commitments, including 11 from the junior college ranks and nine local products.
The successful haul in so short a time hasn't exactly encouraged procrastination in Manoa. Not content to rest on his laurels, the former defensive coordinator is poised to refocus recruiting efforts on the 2009 high school graduating class.
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JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
UH coach Greg McMackin wants to meet all high school football head coaches, athletic directors and principals in Hawaii.
After scrambling for recruits during a three-week period following his hire as the new Hawaii football coach in January, Greg McMackin intends to get a jump-start on the competition for 2009.
The concept of a designated day for high school juniors to visit Hawaii's campus in a group, a "Junior Day," appeals to him and could work its way into McMackin's methods in the near future.
"We're definitely interested in that," the Warriors' former defensive coordinator said at the Honolulu Quarterback Club's weekly luncheon at the Pagoda Hotel. "A certain day we'll have all the juniors over. Very interested."
Saint Louis junior Billy Ray Stutzmann was offered a scholarship by UH last week, according to Stutzmann's father, Bill. It's the first known offer for the graduating class of 2009.
McMackin reiterated a desire to make recruiting locally his priority. That three-week clamber resulted in nine homegrown players committing for 2008.
"We will recruit Hawaii first," McMackin said. "We are the University of Hawaii, we are Hawaii's football team. Spring really is the start of recruiting season -- right now it's recruiting season for next year, and in May I'm going to be in every high school in the state of Hawaii. I want to know the coaches, the principals, the athletic directors."
He also intends to have a clinic for local coaches of all levels -- down to Pop Warner -- on April 19, followed by a team practice and scrimmage.
McMackin cautioned the QB Club regulars that with Hawaii's offensive skill positions totally overhauled, this season could see a return to run-and-shoot basics.
While he is a proponent of the run-and-shoot dating back to his days coaching at Oregon Tech, the Warriors offense might not be as freewheeling as it was when operated by the Western Athletic Conference's first "Offensive Unit of the Year" -- Colt Brennan and receivers Jason Rivers, C.J. Hawthorne, Davone Bess and Ryan Grice-Mullins.
"If you watch our defense play, we're very fundamental, try to be very sound, technically," McMackin said. "We're going to do more closer to Mouse Davis' run-and-shoot where it's the reads. We had some talented, veteran guys, and they were allowed to ad-lib a little more. We're going to tighten things up a little bit."
Come April, McMackin will play no favorites. He firmly asserted that full opportunities will be given to Warrior newcomers to impress him for playing time.
That's good news for junior college transfer quarterbacks Greg Alexander (Santa Rosa College) and Brent Rausch (College of the Desert), who arrive on a team without a locked-in starting signal-caller.
"That's our job, is to play the best players," McMackin said. "Doesn't matter if they played before or not. In the spring is when that'll happen. We'll look at our players, and then in the fall, I told our quarterbacks, I told our team, that the two JC players are going to get reps."
Tyler Graunke, a fourth-year junior last season, was once thought to be Brennan's successor entering the Warriors' 2008 opener at Florida, but is no longer the front-runner because of a violation of team rules which resulted in a suspension from team activities. McMackin hasn't said when or if Graunke would be reinstated.
When asked of Graunke's status yesterday, McMackin was mum.
"As far as any players, that's really between he and myself," he said.
On the other side of the ball, junior Brashton Satele has made strides and could threaten to crack into an already-solid platoon of linebackers, he hinted.
McMackin has glimpsed the new home UH uniforms crafted by Under Armour, which signed an eight-year apparel deal with Hawaii last month. The black Warriors jerseys will hint at their roots, he said.
"We're going to have a press conference this week to show you the uniforms, and I know you all will be happy because we put some green in them," he told the Quarterback Club members, who cheered.
"I showed it to some of the players, and they think it's pretty sharp," he added.
Jones awarded another year
Senior defensive back Keenan Jones was granted another season of eligibility by the NCAA, resulting from a season-ending 2006 injury, and will play his final season as a Warrior this year, McMackin said.
Meanwhile, a hardship decision is pending for defensive lineman Francis Maka.