Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, January 29, 2002


Kahuku QB
going to UH

Funaki will go to Hawaii
after a 2-year mission, while Mapu
was undecided as of last night

By Dave Reardon

With commitments from Inoke Funaki and two others already, a pipeline has opened from the North Shore to Manoa. Could it possibly include Parade All-American Jonathan Mapu?

Hawaii coach June Jones and his staff anxiously awaited the answer last night and hoped that the recent influx of talent from state-champion Kahuku might sway the athletic defensive end toward Manoa.

Red Raider all-state quarterback Funaki accepted a scholarship from UH yesterday, becoming the third player from Kahuku to commit to the Warriors this recruiting season.

But as of last night, Mapu, the state's top prospect, remained huddled with his family, praying for help to decide between UH, Brigham Young, Tennessee and Washington. Recruitniks in four time zones kept a vigil but ended the night still in suspense.

"A lot of Washington and Tennessee fans are refusing to go to bed," said Ruth Robbins, a Washington-based recruiting analyst for "(Husky commit from Iolani) Donny Mateaki just called me asking if JT had committed."

Funaki, the Star-Bulletin's No. 8-ranked prospect, chose Hawaii over BYU. He said he plans to go on a two-year church mission before enrolling at UH.

Funaki (6 feet, 180 pounds) passed for 2,172 yards and 28 touchdowns last season. He led Kahuku to two consecutive state championships.

He said UH coaches told him they would try him at quarterback, with the possibility of moving him to slotback, wide receiver or defensive back.

"I'm very happy for him," Kahuku coach Siuaki Livai said. "We all anticipated it, but he wanted to make sure before announcing anything."

Offensive lineman Kalavi Blanchard and defensive tackle Tala Esera, both of Kahuku, chose UH last month.

Livai said UH's recruiting efforts on the North Shore are the best they've ever been.

"They had seven coaches visit six of our players in one day," Livai said. "That never happened before. Part of it is UH is showing a lot of respect to our community and the religious sensitivities of our players (many are members of the Church of Latter Day Saints). They're feeling our spirit and we're feeling their spirit."

Mapu's father, Simi, said yesterday afternoon that Jonathan is still deliberating between the four schools he visited.

Two other Red Raider all-staters, running back Mulivai Pula and wide receiver Ferron Fonoimoana, remained uncommitted last night.

UH Athletics

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