Irish pluck Te'o


POSTED: Thursday, February 05, 2009

Punahou's Manti Te'o ended months of speculation, committing to coach Charlie Weis and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish yesterday in the big surprise of signing day.

No real shockers came out of the University of Hawaii recruiting class, which includes balance (14 offense, 15 defense) and a local flavor (11 commits from Hawaii high schools).

Te'o, who made his choice in front of a live national audience on ESPNU, was featured on the front page of and after making his decision.

Cousin Nile Te'o, a UNLV commit in women's volleyball from Kahuku, had a feeling it would be Notre Dame. Others, like Punahou teammate Cayman Shutter, were surprised.

Hawaii wasn't in the running for Te'o, but put together a deep and talented class in Greg McMackin's first full year of recruiting.

Kapolei's Chad Lopati was hit hard by Oregon State late, but stuck with his commitment to the Warriors, who have 29 players in this year's class.

After losing nine defensive backs to graduation, Hawaii addressed its secondary concerns with eight commits, including Kahuku safeties Aulola Tonga and Kamalani Alo and top junior college player Aaron Brown of Saddleback College (Calif.).

Punahou quarterback Shutter is one of three signal-callers signed by the Warriors, joining Gahr (Calif.) High commit Corey Nielsen and David Graves of Folsom (Calif.) High.

Kapolei's highly regarded offensive lineman Stan Hasiak waffled between California and UCLA before siding with Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel, who also got a commitment from Punahou's Dalton Hilliard.