Wednesday, February 7, 2001
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Posted on: Wednesday, February 7, 2001

UH football team fills its need for speed

Chart of Warrior football recruits
Top football prospects can't escape recruiters, or Internet

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

On the last shopping day, the University of Hawaii filled one last request, securing a commitment from a speedy high school cornerback from Leavenworth, Wash.

Cameron Hollingsworth of Cascade High is the 22nd — and, it appears, the last — new recruit to accept a football scholarship from the Warriors. Today is the first day high school seniors may sign binding NCAA letters of intent.

Including two "gray shirts" — players who signed last year but delayed enrolling in school until this semester — and three players already in the program who, for NCAA purposes, will count as "initial" signings, the Warriors have 27 commitments. An NCAA Division I-A football team is allowed to offer a maximum 25 new scholarships a year.

But a couple of high school recruits have to clear academic hurdles, and might end up becoming "gray shirts." Also, it is unclear if the scholarship vacated by sophomore quarterback Mike Harrison, who decided to transfer, can be offered to punter Mat McBriar, defensive end Travis Laboy or defensive tackle Wayne Hunter. McBriar was a walk-on last year; Laboy transferred from Utah State, and Hunter transferred from California.

In any case, a strong UH recruiting class was strengthened even more with the commitment of Hollingsworth.

The Warriors were alerted to the 6-foot, 175-pound Hollingsworth when his grandparents dropped off a highlight videotape at the UH office several weeks ago while vacationing in Hawaii. Eric and Glenna Beardsley received the videotape as a Christmas gift and, in the spirit of the holidays and grandparents’ pride, decided to share it with the UH coaching staff.

After several days of reviewing the videotape and checking with contacts in Washington, UH offered a scholarship to Hollingsworth.

Some grandparents bring back T-shirts. The Beardsleys brought back a scholarship. "We’re just thrilled," said Sandy Beardsley, Hollings-worth’s mother. "It’s kind of like fate."

Hollingsworth’s background is unique. As a junior, he intercepted nine passes and was named to the all-state team as a cornerback. Last year, he was named an all-state running back after rushing for nearly 1,500 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also intercepted two passes, noteworthy because opponents rarely threw in his direction.

Nicknamed "The Natural," Hollingsworth also starts on the baseball and basketball teams and runs track.

Hollingsworth is the fourth cornerback to commit to UH. In crafting a wish list, the UH coaches sought cornerbacks, offensive linemen, defensive ends and linebackers.

The top recruits are defensive tackle Isaak Sopoaga, who was named a junior college All-American after amassing 31 sacks as a sophomore; Mike Bass, who rushed for 2,875 yards and 40 touchdowns as a senior in earning an ESPN award as the best high school player in Southern California; Omar Bennett, who was a highly recruited high school wide receiver; wideout Nate Ilaoa, the Washington Post’s Metro Player of the Year; and St. Louis School running back Pesefea Fiaseu Jr., the state’s Offensive Player of the Year.

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