By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
Fulfilling a need to boost its defense, the University of Hawaii football team yesterday signed a junior college linebacker from Carson, Calif.
Donny Faaliliu, who is 6 feet 1 and 240 pounds, signed a scholarship agreement with the Warriors soon after returning from a weekend recruiting trip to the Islands.
Faaliliu will return to Hawaii this afternoon, and begin attending classes at UH tomorrow. He will have two years to play two seasons.
"I like the coaching staff, and I like how the coaches communicate with the players," said Faaliliu, who also is a close friend of UH linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa. "And being in Hawaii, well, you cant beat that. I fell in love with the place when I first stepped out of the airplane."
In 1998, Faaliliu was having a standout season with Los Angeles Harbor College when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He did not play in 1999 while undergoing extensive rehabilitation.
But Faaliliu rebounded last year, amassing 92 tackles 70 unassisted in nine starts. He also had 2 1/2 sacks, forced a fumble and recovered two others. He was named to the Western State Conference all-star team.
Faaliliu said his left knee has healed. He said he recently was timed at 4.6 seconds over 40 yards and that he can bench press 405 pounds.
Faaliliu was scheduled to visit Oregon State, but decided to cancel the trip after returning from Hawaii.
"I knew where I wanted to go," he said.
By enrolling this semester, he will be allowed to participate in spring practice in April. He already earned his associates degree an NCAA eligibility requirement.
Faaliliu said he plans to study computer science. His hobbies include reading poetry. "I like the whole flow of it," he said. "I love the philosophy."
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