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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Manuwai an All-American

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Warriors' senior guard Vince Manuwai allowed just one sack in 13 games this season.

Advertiser library photo

Offensive lineman Vince Manuwai yesterday became the fourth player in University of Hawai'i football history to be named a first-team All-American.

Manuwai was selected to the CNN/Sports Illustrated first team, one of seven All-America teams officially recognized by the NCAA.

"I always thought he was an All-American," said Mike Cavanaugh, who coaches the UH offensive linemen. "I'm not surprised at all. I'm very happy and proud of Vincent, and I'm grateful I had the opportunity to coach him for four years. He's a great football player and a great person. He'll be successful in whatever he does."

CNN/SI football editor Stewart Mandel, who helped select the team, said, "If you're on our team, you're an All-American."

Manuwai is UH's first nationally recognized first-team All-American since placekicker Jason Elam, who was picked by Kodak in 1992.

Defensive lineman Al Noga was named to The Associated Press' first team in 1986.

In 1935, Tommy Kaulukukui was named to the All-American Board of Football team.

Mandel and the ESPN college football producer pore over thousands of videotapes.

"We look at every (Division I-A) team in the country," Mandel said. "We take our research very seriously."

Mandel said it often is difficult to rate offensive linemen because they don't generate enough quantitative statistics.

"But we've seen (Manuwai) a few times, and he's clearly a talented and intimidating figure," Mandel said. "The NFL people are very high on him. The most impressive thing is Hawai'i passes almost every down, and he has given up only one sack."

The Web site reports that it attracts 5 million to 10 million page readers each day.

Manuwai, a senior from Farrington High, has been invited to play in the Senior Bowl, Hula Bowl and East-West Shrine Game.

WAC honor for Laboy: Defensive end Travis Laboy yesterday was named the Western Athletic Conference's Defensive Player of the Week.

Of Laboy's seven tackles against San Diego State, five were for losses. His sack of quarterback Lon Sheriff ended the Aztecs' final drive.

"We've known forever that he has tremendous ability," UH coach June Jones said at his weekly news conference. "It's just a matter of him doing it week in and week out and in every game. These last four or five weeks, he's concentrated a little harder and paid attention to detail a little more."

Martinez on deck: Defensive back A.J. Martinez, who was not academically eligible to play this season, said he will join the Warriors in August.

Martinez, who was one of the top high school players in Orange County, Calif., in 2001, said he was ruled ineligible because of an academic glitch. He said the NCAA Clearinghouse decided that an English course he passed last summer should not have been counted as a full core credit.

"I'm committed to Hawai'i, definitely," Martinez said yesterday.

He is expected to compete at defensive back.

Comeback attempt: Running back and special teams standout Jonathan Kauka did not participate in the Senior Walk last Saturday and declined to receive his commemorative jersey at Sunday's team banquet because he is appealing to the NCAA for a fifth season of eligibility.

Kauka suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second game. Kauka earned a bachelor's degree last summer and, if the waiver is granted, he would receive a fifth season — and sixth year — at UH.