Oregon makes it easy
for Kia to stay home

Aaron Kia, who yesterday orally committed to play football for Hawaii, knows that overbooked feeling air travelers sometimes encounter. He doesn't feel stranded, though.

"Funny story," Kia said. "Oregon dropped me. They had a big visit (weekend), and the guys all committed, so they don't have a scholarship to offer me," the Mililani offensive lineman said. "So that made my decision for me."

Not that the Ducks were his first choice.

"I was leaning toward staying home and playing for Hawaii anyway," Kia said. "(Offensive line) Coach (Mike) Cavanaugh is the main reason. I hope he stays another 10 years."

Cavanaugh turned down an offer to be assistant head coach at San Jose State last week.

The 6-foot-2, 268-pound Kia is the kind of agile athlete Cavanaugh loves to work with. He was a competitive swimmer for five years before venturing into football as a sophomore.

"My dad was an all-state football player, and I wanted to try it out," Kia said.

His father is Malcolm Kia, who was an all-around standout on Waipahu's 1971 OIA championship team.

San Diego State and UCLA also showed interest in Kia.

Kia has a 3.7 cumulative grade-point average, and more than adequate entrance exam scores. He is leaning toward majoring in business.

Kia can make his commitment binding on Feb. 2, national letter of intent day.

He is the fourth offensive lineman to commit to UH this recruiting season. Dan Johnson of Sammamish, Wash., Laupepa Letuli of San Diego and Adrian Thomas of Australia are the others.

Also, Soli Lefiti, a 2004 Castle High graduate and 6-5, 255-pound defensive end, will play at Palomar Community College in San Marcos, Calif.

Palomar is the alma mater of former UH receiver Se'e Poumele.

Kahuku cornerback Al Afalava said he enjoyed his visit to Oregon State, but still plans on visiting BYU, Utah and San Diego State.

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