Hawaii football DVDs are hot items at AFCA


POSTED: Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Collecting footage on video from Hawaii's high school coaches and players is a way of life for Doris Sullivan.

Seeing smiles on the faces of college football coaches who pick up those DVDs is, in a big way, the reward for the Pacific Islands Athletic Alliance executive director. Sullivan is in Nashville, Tenn., for the annual American Football Coaches Association conference, and the PIAA booth has become a hub for many coaches with ties to the islands.

“;It's become the Polynesian hangout,”; Sullivan said last night.

Former UH football players are spread over the continent teaching the game at the college level. Among those at the conference were Dino Babers, Kim McCloud and Brian Norwood, all now at Baylor, where Norwood is the defensive coordinator.

Also making their way through the turnstiles were former UH assistant coach Wes Suan and director of player personnel Tony Tuioti.

The DVDs most in demand from coaches near and far were for juniors: quarterback Andrew Manley of Leilehua, defensive lineman Micah Hatchie and Graham Rowley of Waialua, center Kelii Kekuewa of Kamehameha-Hawaii and Desmond Tautofi of Kaimuki. Manley, the Star-Bulletin offensive player of the year, is being widely recruited. Others like Hatchie and Rowley are starting to stir up attention. Tautofi, a 6-foot-3, 270-pound defensive end, had no video footage available for coaches at the conference.

“;We had 50 DVDs of every kid and there's nobody left with more than three,”; Sullivan said.

The discs she had of the HUB Goodwill Senior Bowl and the Hawaii/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl are practically gone.

“;I started off with 200 copies and if I have 35 left, that's a lot,”; she added.

The interest in Hawaii players is full-blown, with coaches as far away as Georgia Tech—where former UH offensive coordinator Paul Johnson is in charge—and Syracuse indicating interest. Smaller schools like Tennessee-Martin, Sullivan noted, are scouring for island talent, too. That makes the traveling and weather—it was 26 degrees in Nashville yesterday morning—all worthwhile.

Beyond the DVDs and mingling of coaches, there's one common denominator for everyone who passed through the PIAA hub.

“;Everybody wants to know where Manti (Te'o) is going,”; she said.

Te'o, the Punahou linebacker who was a two-time Star-Bulletin defensive player of the year, visited BYU over the weekend. His final five also includes Notre Dame, Stanford, UCLA and USC.