Scholarships for Paredes, Torres


POSTED: Thursday, August 13, 2009

Corey Paredes and Richard Torres shared living space and a common goal.

Paredes and Torres were roommates in an off-campus apartment last year, keenly aware of each other's struggles in meeting the demands of school and football while dealing with the financial burdens walk-ons must bear.

“;We were both talking about, 'Man, if we had a scholarship life would be so much easier,' “; Torres recalled.

“;That didn't stop us from training, though. It made us stronger.”;

The work Paredes and Torres invested as walk-ons paid off yesterday when Hawaii head coach Greg McMackin announced that both had been awarded full scholarships.

McMackin's address after the morning practice drew applause from the team and an emotional response from Paredes.

“;It means a lot,”; said Paredes, a sophomore linebacker. “;I'm in my third year in college, I've been paying out of my own pocket the whole way. I'm really glad that the coaches decided to give me and Richard scholarships because we've both been struggling.

“;My parents, my girlfriend, my girlfriend's family, they all supported me. They all told me they knew I'd get it.”;

Paredes said he's been taking out loans to pay his way through school. Torres had some financial aid, but also worked side jobs in the summer to fund his education while also training for the season.

“;I felt like a burden was lifted off,”; Torres said of hearing the news.

Both Paredes and Torres have steadily ascended the depth chart since joining the program and were contributors on special teams last season.

Paredes, a Castle graduate, shuffled between running back and linebacker as a redshirt freshman. He worked his way into the first unit at outside linebacker during spring practice and has maintained that spot so far in fall camp.

“;He's fast. He's going to play a lot of football both on defense and special teams,”; McMackin said. “;And he's a good student and so is Richard, which is important in our deal. Those are the two things we want, good students and guys that win football games.”;

Torres is a backup free safety and the first nickel back when the Warriors send five defensive backs onto the field.

He had a scholarship offer to Western Oregon after leading Kahuku to back-to-back state championships as a quarterback in 2005 and '06. But he elected to stay home to walk on with the Warriors.

“;He just wanted to play ball at UH,”; said Reggie Torres, Richard's father and Kahuku head coach. “;Even if he had to pay for it, that's what he was planning to do. The scholarship coming, that's like icing on the cake for somebody living his dream.”;

At 5-foot-7 and 170 pounds, coaches have raved about Torres' mastery of technique since he joined the program, and he's added muscle and speed in the offseason.

He broke the 300-pound mark on his bench press and was timed at 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash after spring practice.

“;I feel a lot more confident,”; Torres said. “;I'm still smaller than everybody, but I have a little something behind me this year.”;

In working with high school athletes, Reggie Torres said the scholarships awarded yesterday demonstrates “;to the state that UH is rewarding kids who work hard and do well in school. (UH associate coach Rich) Miano and those guys run a great walk-on program and it gives kids more incentive to walk on.”;

Although they accomplished a goal in earning scholarships, neither Paredes nor Torres feel they've reached their destination just yet.

“;I don't want that to be the end. I want to keep working and try to get on the field,”; Torres said.

Said Paredes: “;It's extra motivation, that's for sure.”;