Wednesday, May 12, 1999
Top UH recruit
out of jail
His coach says Pisa Tinoisamoa,By Paul Arnett
one of the Top 100 recruits in the
nation, will be at UH next year
Pisa Tinoisamoa, a top University of Hawaii football recruit, was released from prison Monday night and will be able to graduate with his class at Vista (Calif.) High School later this month.
The talented prep linebacker remains under house arrest, but Tinoisamoa's coach said last night that the San Diego Union-Tribune's 1998 defensive player of the year will join the Hawaii program this fall, a statement Rainbows head coach June Jones believes is true.
"I'm just happy that he seems to be getting his life in order. Football is only a part of that. If he makes it academically, we'll welcome him like anybody else."
In early February, Tinoisamoa was sentenced by Superior Court Judge William Nevitt to 270 days in a San Diego Youth Correctional Facility after he was found guilty on two counts of felony assault.
Rated by The Sporting News as the second-best recruit in the Western Athletic Conference, Tinoisamoa could be the impact player the Rainbows have been searching for this decade. It is the first time Hawaii has signed someone rated among the nation's top 100 high school recruits.
Jones came under fire for recruiting Tinoisamoa due to his checkered past.
In a recent Star-Bulletin poll, registered voters were asked if they felt Hawaii should offer football scholarships to persons who have been convicted of felonies. A whopping 72 percent said "no."
"I guarantee that most of the 72 percent who didn't think we should have recruited Pisa would want me to give their sons a second chance," Jones said at the time. "We believe in this kid. We know the risks involved, but we want to help turn his life around."
UH was the only school to offer him a scholarship. He also was recruited by San Diego State, Fresno State, Texas and UCLA.