UH's class balanced and deep


POSTED: Thursday, February 05, 2009

Greg McMackin promised a renewed effort to recruit local kids when he took the Hawaii football coaching job last year.

A handful of them got away, but the Warriors coaching staff more than held its own, securing commitments from 11 players from local high schools, the most since 2003.

“;When I came here, I wanted to keep the good Hawaiian players home,”; McMackin said.

Hawaii went head-to-head with many Pac-10 schools on a number of players. A few local kids, including Waianae's Wade Keliikipi (Oregon) and Punahou's Kimo Makaula (Washington), escaped to the mainland late in the recruiting season, but Hawaii managed to hold onto a number of highly sought-after players.

“;Something that is really important to me is closing on guys,”; McMackin said. “;In this business ... you're going to lose some and you're going to get some.

“;We've been very aggressive in our recruiting, as aggressive as I've ever been. ... Our commitment of guys decommitting and not decommitting is at 85 percent, which if I was in the business world, that would be a winning number.”;

It all started last summer with the signing of Billy Ray Stutzmann, whom McMackin called “;the foundation of this recruiting class.”; Schools like Oregon State, Washington and Washington State tried to come after him, but he never wavered in his commitment.

“;He was the first guy and he stayed with it,”; McMackin said. “;He had the guts to stay with it.”;

The Warriors addressed their primary needs in the secondary, securing commitments from eight defensive backs. Junior college transfer Aaron Brown (Saddleback College, Calif.) has an opportunity to step in right away to help offset the losses of Keao Monteilh and Erik Robinson. Defensive backs Melvin Hopkins (Navarro College, Texas) and Lametrius Davis (Butte College, Calif.) may contend to replace departed seniors Ryan Mouton and Jameel Dowling.

Hawaii also got the balance it was looking for, adding depth across the board. The Warriors brought in at least three players at every major position, including quarterback. Originally, McMackin had only planned for two quarterbacks, but when Punahou's Cayman Shutter became available after a coaching change at New Mexico, McMackin decided to go with three.

“;I don't ever want to get in the quarterback situation we were in this year, ever,”; he said. “;I thought about it and you know what, he's a good quarterback. He's a great kid. He can fit in here, so that's what got us three quarterbacks.”;

The recruits are split almost evenly between offense (14) and defense (15). Nine of the 29 recruits are junior college players, a trend that the coaching staff hopes to slim down in the coming years.

“;Slowly we're trying to get to the point where we're balanced out every year,”; UH director of football player personnel Tony Tuioti said. “;Last year it was offense. This year it was defense.

“;We tried to get a balance and we want to get to the point that we're going with all high school guys, because they get into the program and have four years to develop.”;


Taking the next step

Area athletes receiving football scholarships and the UH recruiting class of 2009:

Division I POS.HSHtWtCollege
» Kamalani AloSKahuku6-2200Hawaii
» Kalani BrackenridgeDBKapolei5-11165Hawaii
» Jray GaleaiCBKahuku6-0180BYU
» Dalton HilliardRB/WR/CBPunahou6-0190 UCLA
» Joey IosefaSFaiga'itua6-1190Hawaii
» Wade KeliikipiDTWaianae6-3 280Hawaii
» Jordan LoefflerOLHilo 6-5 265Hawaii
» Chad LopatiLBKapolei6-2250Hawaii
» Benson Ma'afalaOLMililani6-3305Hawaii
» Kimo MakauaTE/WRPunahou6-3 225Washington
» Marcus MalepeaiDTRadford6-2 245Hawaii
» Veni ManuDEMililani 6-4 230Hawaii
» Trendt MarsomSKaimuki6-0195Wyoming
» Mika NickelOL/DEHawaii Prep6-2245Utah State
» Cyril OntaiRB/LBKapolei5-10205Navy
» Shawn ReedDE/LBKalaheo6-1212Navy
» Jordan Puu RobinsonDEBaldwin6-4250Wash. State
» Mana RosaDEBaldwin6-2 250Oregon State
» Kapua SaiOLSaint Louis6-5 320Utah
» Conrad ScheidtLBKamehameha6-2220Idaho
» Cayman ShutterQBPunahou6-1 180Hawaii
» Billy Ray StutzmannWRSaint Louis 6-0160Hawaii
» Aulola TongaSKahuku6-3200Hawaii
» Chauncy Winchester-MakainaiOLKailua6-4325Hawaii
» Simione VehikiteRB/LBKapolei6-1 243USC

Division I-AAPOS.HSHtWtCollege
» Siasau MatageiseDLWaimea6-1247Portland State
» Bijon MostoufiDTKaiser6-1265Weber State

Junior CollegePOS.HSHtWtCollege
» Kamaloni Vainikolo (Maui)DEEl Camino6-3275Utah State

  UH commitments from the mainland: T.J. Alofipo, LB, 6-4, 240, Silverado (Nev.); Rodney Bradley, WR, 6-1, 190, Navarro (Texas) CC; Aaron Brown, S, 6-1, 215, Saddleback (Calif.) CC; George Daily-Lyles, LB, 5-11, 220, Long Beach Poly (Calif.); Lametrius Davis, DB, 5-11, 180, Butte (Calif.) CC; Chizzy Dimude, RB, 5-9, 190, Laney (Calif.) College; David Graves, QB, 6-0, 190, Folsom (Calif.); Alex Green, RB, 6-2, 220, Butte (Calif.) CC; David Hafoka, DT, 6-1, 315, College of San Mateo (Calif.); Melvin Hopkins, DB, 5-9, 160, Navarro(Texas) CC; Brett Leonard, OL, 6-5, 305, Saddleback (Calif.) JC; John Lister, RB, 6-1, 205, Thousand Oaks (Calif.) HS; Zachary Masch, DT, 6-2, 285, Arizona Western CC; Corey Nielsen, QB, 5-11, 185, Gahr (Calif.) HS; Deondre Powell, WR, 5-8, 160, Gahr (Calif.) HS; Destin Stewart, WR, 6-4, 200, Douglass (Okla.) HS; Michael Wadsworth, S, 6-1, 190, Silverado (Nev.) HS.