Hawaii football talent at an all-time high


POSTED: Thursday, September 03, 2009

Hawaii's influence on Division I football is more than it's ever been.

A total of 101 players who graduated from local high schools dot the rosters of major D-I teams on the mainland.

Throw in the 55 playing for Hawaii this season and you're looking at more than 150 gearing up for the beginning of the 2009 college football season.

And that's just at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level. It doesn't include Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams like Weber State and Portland State, or other kids who go the junior college route.

“;When you think about it, that's very impressive for a place out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, pumping that many kids into schools mostly on the West Coast,”; said Brian McLaughlin, who tracks national recruiting for The Sporting News.

Getting the necessary exposure had long been a problem for players coming out of high school here. But as the popularity of college football has continued to grow, so too have opportunities for kids to get their names out to the appropriate people, at younger and younger ages.

Recruiting has become so competitive that Hawaii coach Greg McMackin offered Saint Louis freshman Reeve Koehler a scholarship when he was in eighth grade.

The recruiting spotlight was never brighter on Hawaii than last year, when Punahou standout Manti Te'o had every major college eager for his services.

While Te'o eventually settled on Notre Dame, his recruitment opened the door for others from the islands to secure important scholarships to mainland schools.

“;There's no question he has opened it up more than it has ever been,”; McLaughlin said.

The proof is in the numbers. Of the 101 players, 24 graduated from high school last June. And according to Rivals.com, 19 kids from the class of 2010 have already been offered scholarships for next season, comparable to Nevada (21) and Utah (23), and way ahead of Oregon (seven) and Idaho (four).

“;I think people have started to realize that it's more of a gold mine over there then they thought,”; McLaughlin said. “;I've had a few people say to me, 'Man, did we miss a kid over there because we weren't paying attention.'”;




Oregon State coach Mike Riley has been the Pac-10's biggest recruiter in recent years. Fifteen of the 46 Pac-10 players from Hawaii are Beavers, but the competition to recruit these players is at an all-time high.

Second-year UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel missed out on Te'o, but still managed to land Kapolei's Stan Hasiak, Kamehameha's Charles Soon and Punahou's Dalton Hilliard.

Hasiak is one of three guys from Hawaii expected to play big roles on the Bruins offensive line, joining starters Eddie Williams (Damien '06) and Kai Maiava (Baldwin '07), who sat out last year after transferring from Colorado, as part of a six- or seven-man rotation.

Hasiak is filling in for Mililani's Micah Kia (Mililani '06), who had surgery Tuesday on a torn ACL suffered during fall camp and will miss the entire season.

First-year Washington coach Steve Sarkisian added Punahou's Kimo Makaula and Hilo's Semisi Tokolahi to a roster including offensive lineman Mykenna Ikehara (Kamehameha '08), defensive end Kalani Aldrich (Kamehameha-Hawaii '07) and All-Pac-10 senior Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (Hawaii Prep '05).

Sarkisian has offers out to eight local recruits, including Mililani's Taz Stevenson, who said as recently as two weeks ago that the Huskies were still on top of his list.

Every Pac-10 team has at least one player from the islands including Washington State, which plays Hawaii in nine days. Senior offensive lineman Reed Lesuma (Kahuku '02) is the oldest of the bunch and defensive end Jordan Pu'u Robinson (Baldwin '09) is a true freshman.

Here's a look at some of the big games this weekend involving local athletes:

Utah State at No. 19 Utah

Kepa Gaison (Kamehameha '05) walked on his freshman year as a punter. He'll begin his senior year starting at linebacker. Gaison and junior Nai Fotu (Kahuku '07), who will start in place of injured Koa Misi at defensive end, will try to help the Utes extend the nation's longest winning streak to 15 games. Gaison had six tackles and two sacks in last year's Sugar Bowl against Alabama, convincing coaches he could play the position while moving Fotu back to defensive end.

No. 16 Oregon at No. 14 Boise State

Ducks quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (Saint Louis '06) kicks off his junior campaign with much hype after appearing on a regional cover of Sports Illustrated. Masoli, a dual threat who ran for 718 yards and 10 touchdowns and threw for 1,744 yards and 13 TDs last year, looks to build on a sophomore campaign that saw him named MVP of the Holiday Bowl against Oklahoma State.

Nevada at No. 23 Notre Dame

Te'o makes his much-anticipated debut for the Fighting Irish. His Punahou classmate, receiver Robby Toma, will likely red-shirt. Jared Silva-Purcell (Saint Louis '06) is the backup middle linebacker and Michael Andrews (Kalaheo '06) is a backup defensive tackle for the Wolf Pack, who have lost four of their last five season openers.



A total of 101 Hawaii high school players are on Division I (FBS) mainland football teams this year. Here they are:

B.J. AdolphoNew Mexico St.Fr5-11215LBKahuku
Ka'ua AdolphoNew Mexico St.Jr6-1237DEKahuku
Solomona AigamauaCaliforniaSoph6-1246LBSaint Louis
Ikaika Aken-MoletaSan Deigo St.Sr6-2295OLKapolei
Kalani AldrichWashingtonSoph6-7250DLKamehameha-HI
Tyson AlualuCaliforniaSr6-3290DLSaint Louis
Bruce AndrewsNavySoph6-0195WRKalaheo
Michael AndrewsNevadaSoph6-2275DLKalaheo
Jay AngottiSMUJr5-10208DBPunahou
J.J. AuteleSan Diego St.Soph6-1245DLPunahou
Kama BaileyIdahoSoph5-9200RBDamien
R.J. BeattyColoradoJr6-2220LBKahuku
Bryson BeirneArizonaSoph6-3225QBMid-Pacific
Daniel BukarauUtahJr6-1271OLKailua
Charles ClaySMUFr5-10175WRHilo
Jojo DicksonIdahoJr6-2229LBBaldwin
Savali EseluCaliforniaSoph6-3251TEMoanalua
Ramsey FeagaiUNLVJr6-2340OLRadford
Sam FehokoTexas TechSoph5-11220LBFarrington
Nai FotuUtahJr6-0240DLKahuku
Kepa GaisonUtahSr5-10220LBKamehameha
Jray GaleaiBYUFr6-0193DBKahuku
Mana GreigOregonFr5-11285OLSaint Louis
Spencer HafokaBYUSoph6-0196WRKahuku
Stan HasiakUCLAFr6-5318OLKapolei
Brandon HardinOregon St.Soph6-2210DBKamehameha
Dalton HilliardUCLAFr6-0194ATHPunahou
Marcus HolyfieldSMUFr6-1175WRMid-Pacific
Mykenna IkeharaWashingtonFr6-2260OLKamehameha
Trask IosefaSan Diego St.Jr6-0290OLPunahou
Daniel Ka'ananaUNLVFr6-5270OLKamehameha
Justin KamOregonSr6-1188DBKamehameha
Keloni KamalaniOregonFr5-11205LBKamehameha-Maui
Kamu KapanuiUNLVSr6-0245LSKamehameha
Wade Keli'ikipiOregonFr6-3285DLWaianae
Devon KellOregon St.Fr6-3213TE/LBHilo
Micah KiaUCLASr6-5313OLMililani
Solomon KoehlerArizonaFr6-3335OLCastle
Kaulin KrebsOregon St.Fr6-0191WRKahuku
Isaiah LaveaIdahoFr6-2298DLKamehameha
Shawn LauvaoArizona St.Sr6-3305OLFarrington
Reed LesumaWashington St.Sr6-4311OLKahuku
Steve LightsySan Jose St.Sr6-4345OLKahuku
Mikhail MabryKentuckySr6-2248LBMililani
Kai MaiavaUCLASoph6-1309OLBaldwin
Stanley MalamalaArizona StSr6-3267TELahainaluna
Kimo MakaulaWashingtonFr6-2248FBPunahou
Abe MarkowitzSouthern CalFr6-1280OLPunahou
Trendt MarsomWyomingFr6-0195LBKaimuki
Castro MasaniaiOregon St.Fr6-2296DLWaipahu
Matt MasifiloStanfordSoph6-3285DLCampbell

Jeremiah MasoliOregonJr5-11214QBSaint Louis
Mike MatamuaSan Deigo St.Soph6-4290OLKapolei
Brian MatsumotoArizona StSr6-0177WRPunahou
Wilder McAndrewsOregon St.Jr6-4288OLKamehameha 
Lolomana MikaeleArizonaJr6-2305DLDamien
Manu NgatikauraSan Jose St.Jr5-10185DBKahuku
Aaron NicholsOregon St.Jr6-0186WRKamehameha
Mika NickelUtah St.Fr6-2246DLHawaii Prep
David NiumataloloNew Mexico St.Soph6-2265DLKahuku
Kaua OldsOregon St.Fr5-10188DBCastle
Cyril OntaiNavyFr5-10205FBKapolei
David Pa'aluhi IIIOregon St.Soph5-11233LBWaianae
Kahikolu PescaiaNavyFr6-0255OLKamehameha
Ryan PohlOregon St.Jr6-3284OLKamehameha
Jordan Pu'u RobinsonWashington St.Fr6-3256DLBaldwin
Mana RosaOregon St.Fr6-3245DLBaldwin
Kapua SaiUtahFr6-5319OLSaint Louis
Thor SalanoaUtahFr6-2210LBRadford
Aaron SantiagoNavySoph5-8167WRKapolei
Kaipo SarkissianTulsaSr6-1225LBKamehameha
Conrad ScheidtIdahoFr6-1219LBKamehameha
Matt ShibataNavyFr6-0194WRMid-Pacific
Kawika ShookNew Mexico St.Jr6-3245DEKamehameha
Robert SiaviiIdahoSoph6-2209LBLeilehua
Jared Silva-PurcellNevadaJr5-11220LBSaint Louis
Michael SipiliColoradoJr6-1240LBDamien
Charles SoonUCLAFr5-10165WRKamehameha
Braden StoraasliSan Jose St.Jr6-0213LBDamien
Ray StowersUtahSr6-0220RB'Iolani
Sione TauColoradoSoph6-5325OLDamien
Malo TaumuaUNLVJr6-1270DLAiea
Malosi Te'oBYUFr5-10203RBKahuku
Manti Te'oNotre DameFr6-2224LBPunahou
Shiloah Te'oBYUSoph5-10206DBKahuku
Daniel Te'o-NesheimWashingtonSr6-4263DLHawaii Prep
Sean TesoroUNLVFr6-2290OLBaldwin
Aaron TipotiCaliforniaFr6-2281DLAOP
Semisi TokolahiWashingtonFr6-2340DLHilo
Robby TomaNotre DameFr5-9175WRPunahou
Tonu TuimalealiifanoOregon St.Soph6-1276DLFarrington
Suaesi TuimauneuOregon St.Jr6-1207DBKahuku
Travis UaleBYUSoph6-2195DBKamehameha
Devin UngaOregon St.Fr6-1215LBKahuku
Kevin UngaOregon St.Fr6-1223DLKahuku
Kamaloni VainikoloUtah St.Jr6-2280DLMaui
Walker VaveOregon St.Jr6-2240LBKahuku
Simione VehikiteSouthern CalFr6-0245FBKapolei
Eddie WilliamsUCLAJr6-1331OLDamien
Tyler WilliamsUtahSr6-1290OLKamehameha
RJ WillingBYUSr6-5308OLKamehameha