3 locals commit
to D-I schools

Thompson and Veikune
choose Colorado, while
Stowers picks Utah

Three Hawaii high school football players have orally committed to high-profile Division I schools.

Defensive ends David Veikune of Campbell and Tavita Thompson of Saint Louis made commitments to Colorado, and running back Raynold Stowers of Iolani said he's bound for Utah.

Feb. 4 is the first day they can make their pledges official by putting them in writing.

Veikune expects to redshirt when he arrives at Colorado. He made his decision to join the Buffaloes last night.

"I loved the people, the coaches, the coaching staff, the whole program," said Veikune, who canceled a trip to Utah. "I'm sure I'll get used to the (cold) weather. I was born in Alaska, but haven't lived there since second grade."

On his visit, the 6-2, 255-pound Veikune stayed with defensive tackle Vaka Manupuna, a Saint Louis School alumnus, and they immediately became friends.

"He's coming to our house on Friday," Veikune said. "We're Tongan and Tongans stay close. That's how our culture is. We're like family."

Thompson, 6-5, 270, said Colorado plans to move him to offensive tackle.

He said he committed on Sunday after also visiting the Boulder campus the previous weekend.

"I felt real comfortable there," Thompson said.

He said he chose Colorado mainly because of school.

"They really value academics there," said Thompson, who plans to major in psychology, sports medicine or kinesiology.

He said he was told he might get a chance to play early in his career, but that was not a major consideration for him.

"No matter what you've got to work for it," he said.

Hawaii was among the other schools interested in him.

The Buffaloes also have a commitment from Waimea running back/linebacker Jordon Dizon.

Stowers didn't have a very hard decision yesterday when he chose the Utes.

"It's a perfect fit for me," said Stowers, who visited the Salt Lake City campus two weekends ago. "They were extremely interested in bringing me into the program and talked to me about having a lot of playing time. And they run almost the exact same (spread) offense we run."

Stowers visited Wisconsin last weekend before making his decision. He was also recruited by Michigan State and Oregon State.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder is fully recovered from a shoulder stinger that kept him out of much of his senior season. He gained 545 yards on 76 rushing attempts and scored five TDs in four Interscholastic League of Honolulu games. He also caught 22 passes for 273 yards and another TD.

As a junior, Stowers rushed for more 1,000 yards.

"He was the No. 1 running back they (the Utes) were going after," Raiders coach Wendell Look said. "He was kind of a sleeper this year because of the shoulder, which was a nagging kind of thing."

Look puts Stowers in the same company as former Raider Joe Igber, who broke Hawaii high school rushing records in the late 1990s before going on to star at California.

"Raynold is more of a slasher, not quite as shifty and elusive as Joe. He's a bigger back and very versatile," the coach said. "He could easily get bigger and still be as effective, maybe even up to 225 pounds.

Look likened Stowers to Igber in another way.

"They're both good people, good kids and good students. Raynold is one of those kids with an unblemished record, character-wise."

Stowers' visit to Wisconsin reinforced his high opinion of Utah.

"Even when I told them (at Utah) that I might want to go there, they suggested that I take other trips so I could compare," he said. "They really showed they care about me and my education and they made me feel like they're going to carry me through the four or five years I'm there."

The decision is a bit of relief for Stowers.

"The injury was frustrating this year and I didn't think the colleges would be interested. But now the pressure is off and everything is good. Thank God."


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