Hawaii football recruit will decide his future by Aug. 17


POSTED: Sunday, June 28, 2009

While Kalani Brackenridge continues to wrestle with his decision on which path to take next, he's thankful for the options before him.

“;It's a great opportunity with these choices I have,”; Brackenridge said. “;It's incredible.”;

Brackenridge, a defensive back from Kapolei, signed a letter of intent to join the Hawaii football team in February. Earlier this month, he was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

If he sticks with football, Brackenridge said, he'll grayshirt this season and join the Warriors next spring.

For the moment, he's playing American Legion ball this summer and is headed to a tournament in California this week.

Brackenridge played cornerback for Kapolei, earning honorable-mention All-State honors. He was drafted by the Rays in the 44th round despite not playing baseball for the Hurricanes this spring.

Brackenridge, who has completed his paperwork to enroll at UH, said his father is handling the negotiations with the Rays. The major league deadline for draft picks to sign is Aug. 17.

“;It's a hard decision,”; Brackenridge said, “;because if I sign that means I have to give up football.”;

Brackenridge's former Kapolei teammate, linebacker Chad Lopati, also signed with UH but will attend Arizona Western College this fall, Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said.

Joey Iosefa, a signee out of Fagaitua High School in American Samoa, is also expected to grayshirt this season.


First impressions

In the first of what could be many meetings on the Hawaii practice fields, David Lefotu and Viliami Fonokalafi faced off in a one-on-one drill during Hawaii's Big Man's Camp last week.

“;He's a great guy, very explosive defensive lineman,”; Lefotu, a guard at Pearl City, said of Kaimuki's Fonokalafi. “;We were really getting at it, but at the end of the day we shook hands and we're really proud that we both committed to UH.”;

Lefotu and Fonokalafi have pledged to sign with the Warriors as part of the Warriors' 2010 recruiting class, as have Kailua's Calen Friel and Leilehua's Charles Tuaau, both expected to compete at defensive end in college.

Fonokalafi (6-foot, 290 pounds) plays defensive tackle and end for the Bulldogs and said the camp reinforced his experience at UH's Junior Day in April.

“;The junior day made a great impression on me. It changed the way I was thinking,”; Fonokalafi said. “;I thought going to the mainland would be the best thing for me. But going to the Junior Day, (UH) seemed like a great fit.”;

Fonokalafi said working with former UH and Kaimuki lineman Matt Faga, now a Bulldogs assistant coach, motivated him to work toward college.

Lefotu (6-4, 295) said he'd heard from the Pearl City coaches that the Warriors were interested, but when the offer came, “;it was a big relief to commit to UH and become a future Warrior.”;


Warriors return

Former Warriors Colt Brennan, Davone Bess and Ryan Mouton are scheduled to appear at a benefit at The Shack Waikiki on July 10.

The event aids Hawaii Meals on Wheels and includes a silent auction featuring helmets and jerseys signed by Brennan and Bess. Tickets are available at the Wedding Cafe Ward Centre and The Willows restaurant for $40. Tickets at the door are $45.

More information is available by calling 497-2900 and online at excessivecelebrations.com


Kids Camp starts

The first Koa Kids Football Camp opens tomorrow and runs through Thursday at Ching Field.

The camp, led by UH assistant coach Chris Tormey, is open to third- through eighth-graders. The sessions focus on football fundamentals and run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is provided each day and participants receive a T-shirt and youth football.

Registration information is available at koakidfootball.com.