The Hawaii football team has pared its roster to 75 in anticipation of the incoming class of freshmen and junior college transfers.
Warriors cut 21 from team
By Dave Reardon
A total of 21 players who were on the roster going into spring practice are no longer on the list of team members at the official UH sports Web site (uhathletics.hawaii.edu).
Five of the players were listed on the pre-spring depth chart: second-string offensive left tackle Charlie Dutra, second-string defensive left tackle Mike Holt, second-string defensive right tackle Hiram Travis, third-string center Kealii Aguiar and third-string right tackle Jonathan Ekno.
Coach June Jones said some of the 21 will be asked to return to the team once school starts in the fall and the roster is no longer limited to 105.
"There are a few guys who will have another opportunity," Jones said. "Letting players go is most definitely one of the hardest things for us to do. But we had a lot of walk-ons and we have to make room for 30 guys coming in."
Highly regarded defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga is not on the roster, but a source close to the program said Sopoaga is expected to be fully qualified academically and on the roster in time for fall camp.
The 6-foot-4, 300-pound junior college transfer recorded a national record 31 sacks two seasons ago at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calif. He worked on becoming academically eligible last year, and has two years of eligibility.
QB coming: Kainoa Akina, the son of former UH assistant Duane Akina, is transferring from Eastern Michigan to Hawaii.
Akina started six games at quarterback as a true freshman last year, before suffering a strained knee. He finished the season completing 140 of 267 passes for 1,504 yards. He threw 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He broke Charlie Batch's school single-game record with six TD passes.
Akina must sit out this season after transferring. He will then have three years of eligibility.
"He wanted to come home," said Akina's uncle, Skip. "He knows it will be tough competition at quarterback at UH, but he wants to try it here."
Kainoa's brother, Jason, will be a senior in high school in Austin, Texas, and is being recruited by UH, also as a quarterback.
Short yardage: Though far from a done deal, Alabama replacing Washington State as UH's Nov. 30 opponent is looking like a strong possibility. The NCAA won't rule on Alabama's appeal of its probation until August. Even if the Tide's appeal is successful, and it is not banned from postseason play, Alabama could still play UH on that date, as the SEC championship game is not until Dec. 7 (although the situation would be less than ideal for the Tide if it does make it to the title game). ... UH defensive end Kevin Jackson is going to China for a religious mission next month.