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Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, December 6, 2000

U H _ F O O T B A L L

Fiaseu commits
to Warriors

The St. Louis running back
picks Hawaii over USC,
Utah and Colorado

By Dave Reardon

The University of Hawaii's football recruiting season is off to a good start, and the newest Warrior could be a perfect fit.

St. Louis School running back Pesefea Fiaseu Jr. became UH's first football verbal commitment of the year yesterday.

"I wanted to stay home and play in front of my family," Fiaseu said today. "Whatever the coaches want to do with me is fine, (redshirt or play next year), I'm just going to do what I'm told."

His high school coach thinks the 5-foot-11, 220-pound Waipahu resident might not have to wait long to see action.

"It's a good situation for him, similar to (quarterback) Timmy (Chang) last year," St. Louis coach Cal Lee said. "He's a competitor. If he works hard, he could have a chance."

UH uses a run-and-shoot offense similar to that of St. Louis. It's engineered by WAC Freshman of the Year Chang, Fiaseu's former high school teammate.

He will join several other former Crusader teammates at UH, including wide receiver Gerald Welch.

"It feels good to know that there are a lot of people on the team that I know and have played with in the past and that helps a lot," Fiaseu said.

He chose Hawaii over USC, Utah and Colorado.

"He would probably be used as a fullback if he went somewhere else," Lee said.

Next year, the Warriors will likely lose their top three running backs from the just-completed season. James Fenderson has expended his eligibility, and the appeals by Avion Weaver and Afatia Thompson to the NCAA for an additional year each are not expected to be granted.

Fiaseu, considered the best running back in the state, amassed impressive statistics despite limited playing time (he was pulled out early as the Crusaders built big early margins in most of their games).

He carried 183 times for 1,646 yards and 30 touchdowns in 15 games this season. He caught two passes for 66 yards and a touchdown.

For his varsity career, Fiaseu has 454 carries for 4,057 yards and 62 touchdowns.

Last Friday, Fiaseu rushed for 88 yards and two touchdowns as Kahuku upset St. Louis, 26-20, in the state championship game.

He ran for 156 yards and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1999 state championship game, in which St. Louis beat Kahuku, 19-0.

On Monday, Fiaseu was named Hawaii's Gatorade State High School Football Player of the Year.

The student body president has a 3.6 grade-point-average and has met college entrance requirements. Fiaseu, who plays several instruments, said he plans to study music or communications.

Lee said St. Louis' other top prospects, including linebackers Ikaika Curnan and Joseph Lobendahn, are not expected to decide on college soon. A source at St. Louis has said an Internet report that Lobendahn has committed to Washington is erroneous.

In addition to Washington, Lobendahn was planning to visit Wisconsin, Arizona, USC and Hawaii.

Curnan's most persistent suitors include Arizona, USC and Hawaii.

Three other blue chips in the Hawaii prep class of 2001 are Red Raiders: Kahuku linemen Chris Kemoe'atu and Raymond Manumaleuna and defensive back Aaron Francisco.

Red Raider coach Siuaki Livai said Kemoe'atu's choices are down to Utah, Colorado, USC, and Hawaii, and that Francisco is deciding among Hawaii, Washington, BYU, and Arizona.

Manumaleuna told the Star-Bulletin yesterday that he is choosing among Utah, Arizona, BYU, and Hawaii.

Also, Iolani coach Wendell Look said Raider lineman William Kava is being courted by Washington, Cal, Utah, San Diego State and Hawaii.

Some of the state's other top prospects are Kailua lineman Lokahi Travis, Kaimuki athlete Justin Faimealelei, Maui athlete David Tufaga and Mililani running back Brian Daniels.

High school athletes may not sign football letters of intent, officially binding them to a college, until Feb. 7.

Per NCAA rules, UH coaches are not permitted to discuss recruits until that date.

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