Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, December 30, 2001


UH Football

Kalilimoku coming
home to play for UH

The junior college defender steps
into the Warriors' loaded
crew of linebackers

By Dave Reardon

Roxanne Kalilimoku got the best Christmas present she could imagine Tuesday.

Her son, Chad, told her he would play football for Hawaii.

"What a surprise," Roxanne said. "I strongly believed he was going to Utah. And it was more nerve-wracking since he was getting all these other offers, too, from USC, Washington, San Diego State."

It's probably a gift for the Warriors, too, who hope to have bolstered their defense with a verbal commitment from one of the best junior college linebackers in the nation.

Kalilimoku (6 feet, 235 pounds) received first- and second-team All-American junior college honors at Santa Ana (Calif.) College. Kalilimoku, who has bench-pressed 225 pounds 33 repetitions, played at Santa Ana the past two seasons after a brief stay at Missouri.

Kalilimoku is home visiting his family for the holidays. He is expected to sign his letter of intent on Feb. 6 and enroll at UH in the summer or fall after graduating from Santa Ana in the spring.

"There's nothing better than playing in front of family and friends," he said yesterday.

Kalilimoku told the Star-Bulletin during the fall that the prospect of reuniting with high school teammates Chad Owens (return specialist/slotback) and Chad Kapanui (safety) could be a factor in him joining the Warriors.

Fred Kalilimoku, Chad's father, coached all three at Roosevelt.

"They're like my sons and they're like his brothers," Roxanne said. "That's one reason Chad is coming back."

Chad Kalilimoku said another is that he is impressed by the UH coaching staff.

"They're really cool and it looks like the program is getting better and better," he said.

The Warriors return several players who started at linebacker, including all-Western Athletic Conference first-teamer Chris Brown and second-teamer Pisa Tinoisamoa. Both will be seniors next season.

Matt Wright and Keani Alapa both also started at times and return next fall.

Although UH should be deep at linebacker, the group suffered several injuries last season, and defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa likes to shuttle players in and out.

Kalilimoku is UH's ninth commitment. The other verbal commitments are from offensive linemen Kahai LaCount (Kailua), Samson Satele (Kailua), Marques Kaonohi (Kailua), Dane Uperesa (Punahou), and Kalavi Blanchard (Kahuku), defensive tackle Tala Esera (Kahuku) and linebacker Kaipo Patoc (Mililani). Quarterback Jason Whieldon from Saddleback College in California signed his letter of intent to UH on Dec. 19, the first day for JC players who graduated this semester.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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