Warriors recruit help from Kahuku


POSTED: Thursday, February 05, 2009

Two out of three ain't bad.

; Kahuku's annual winter letter-of-intent signing ceremony yesterday included an unusually low number of D-I signees, but two of them will help the University of Hawaii football team's defensive unit. Safety Aulola Tonga signed with the Warriors, as expected. So did safety/linebacker Kamalani Alo, who was an early commit to UH.

Jray Galeai, who had second thoughts about a commitment to BYU last month, wound up with the Cougars after reconsidering Hawaii.

A fourth athlete, volleyball standout Nile Te'o, inked her pact with UNLV.

Tonga, at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, is a Star-Bulletin All-State first-team selection and could have an immediate impact.

“;I feel relieved it's over. I feel good. My mom probably feels relieved, too,”; Tonga said shortly after talking with UH coach Greg McMackin. “;Coach Mack said, 'We're ready for you, No. 3.'

Galeai committed early to BYU, a school where his uncles Mark, Donny and Alema Atuaia played football, but began to have doubts in January.

“;I was thinking about staying home and playing in front of my family,”; said Galeai, a Star-Bulletin All-State first-team cornerback. UH began to recruit Galeai again once he made that known.

By yesterday, he was set on the blue team in Provo. “;When I used to live there, I dreamed of playing for them,”; he said.

Te'o was a hard-hitting outside hitter and Star-Bulletin All-State/Fab 15 player for the Red Raiders.

“;Now I can focus on school and basketball,”; she said. “;The main part I liked about UNLV is the coaches. The way they coach reminds me a lot of (former Kahuku coaches) Mona and Irwin Ah-Hoy.”;

Te'o will focus on playing libero for the Rebels.


Tonga knew

Te'o is a cousin of Punahou linebacker Manti Te'o, who signed with Notre Dame yesterday. Tonga is one of Manti Te'o's neighbors.

“;I had a strong feeling that he'd go to Notre Dame, just being around him since Pop Warner. We would play NCAA (video games) and he would put him, me and Robby (Toma) on Notre Dame,”; Tonga said.

One of Te'o's teammates was more than a little surprised.

“;I was kind of shocked about Manti,”; quarterback Cayman Shutter said. “;I know he liked Charlie Weis a lot, but I would've bet the house on USC.”;

Shutter, who decommitted from New Mexico in December to accept a scholarship from UH, can see Te'o in green—and not Notre Dame green.

“;Hey, we'll still accept a transfer,”; Shutter said, only half kidding. “;He can always come back.”;


Hawaii products in Dublin

When Notre Dame meets Navy in the 2012 season in Ireland, Shawn Reed (Kalaheo) and Cyril Ontai (Kapolei) could be across the field as a Midshipmen and Te'o could be in Irish green.


Lucky 13

Polynesian products, including athlete Joey Iosefa (Faiga'itua, Samoa) numbered 13 in all for UH yesterday.


Change of heart

Two recent decisions put a damper on the day for UH fans. Wade Keliikipi (Waianae) switched and signed with Oregon after committing early to Hawaii, and Kimo Makaula (Punahou) also turned down UH to sign with Washington.

Makaula, a multi-sport contributor at Punahou, simply wanted to play tight end, a position UH uses only for special teams.

“;I wanted to play offense and Washington is a great school,”; Makaula said. “;They want me to play right away. Coach Mack's a great person. I got to be friends with him.”;

Free education: Kaiser defensive lineman Bijon Mostoufi said he couldn't have afforded a college education without football.

“;It's a lifetime achieve,”; he said, a moment before his new coach, Weber State's Ron McBride. Also heading to Weber State is 'Iolani cornerback Kela Marciel, a first-team all-state pick, and Saint Louis linemen Adam Sagapolutele-White and Tytan Timoteo, and Waialua defensive tackle Hunter Thomson.

“;It's been a long time coming, all the training we've done,”; Thomson said. “;They were interested in me when Chad (Kauhaahaa) was there.”;

Kauhaahaa left to become an assistant coach at Division I Utah State, but the staff at Weber State kept the recruiting trail open.

“;They set me up on a visit and I just love it there,”; Thomson said. “;It's a pretty big step for Waialua. I'm the first one to play in college in awhile. We'll have a couple more next year. It just shows you can achieve anything.”;


Waimea connection

Defensive lineman Siasau Matagiese signed with Portland State, though Matagiese isn't old enough to remember coach Jerry Glanville as a coach with the Atlanta Falcons.

“;What little I know, he's a great coach and stresses a lot about academics,”; Matagiese said.