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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, February 2, 2003

Kahuku High prospect commits to UH

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Defensive back Tu Tui of Kahuku High yesterday accepted a scholarship from the University of Hawai'i football team.

"It's a real good program, and I want to be part of it," Tui said.

Tui, who is 6 feet 1 and 220 pounds, said he notified the UH coaches last night.

Tui is the third defensive back from last season's Red Raider team to commit to UH, following strong safety Viliami Nauahi and cornerback George Perry.

In addition, there are three other former Kahuku defensive backs on the UH roster — safeties Hyrum Peters, Leonard Peters and Orlando Wong.

"I'm happy for all of them," said Keala Santiago, a former UH defensive back who coaches the Red Raider defensive backs. "The best thing is they're all going to college. That's the most important thing."

Tui, who is a member of the Mormon Church, said he is strongly considering going on a two-year church mission. He is eligible to apply for one this summer. In that case, UH still would hold the scholarship for him, as it did for Wong, who went on a church mission soon after graduating from Kahuku in 2000.

Tui joined Kahuku as a wide receiver, but moved to safety during his junior year.

"The defense liked him," Kahuku coach Siuaki Livai said, "and stole him. He's a great player. He's bigger than Leonard Peters or Viliami or (Brigham Young's Aaron) Francisco."

Livai said he envisions Tui becoming a linebacker for the Warriors.

"He can play anywhere," Livai said. "He's very talented."

Santiago said Tui is fast for his size, as well as a dedicated weight trainer. Santiago said Tui's workouts include bench-pressing 225 pounds several times.

"His strength," Santiago said, "is his strength."

Tui said he considered several options before deciding to accept the Warriors' offer. He said he was influenced by Leonard Peters, one of his best friends.

"He's always helpful," Tui said.

Tui will sign a national letter of intent Wednesday, the first day of the NCAA signing period for football prospects.