Saint Louis' Paepule commits to Warriors
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
Saint Louis School's Timo Paepule, regarded as the top high school linebacker in the state, said he will accept a football scholarship from the University of Hawai'i.
"I like the program, and I want to go there," Paepule told The Advertiser last night.
In addition, the Warriors yesterday secured commitments from Lenny Boatner, a receiver from Winston Academy in Louisville, Miss., and punter Tim Wright of Southwest Mississippi Community College.
Paepule, who is 6 feet and 210 pounds, was named to The Advertiser's All-State team.
Paepule was scheduled to visit Utah this weekend. But after completing a recruiting trip to UH last weekend and consulting with family members, he decided to commit to the Warriors. He said he will cancel his trip to Utah.
"I'm glad Coach (June) Jones has faith in me," Paepule said.
Paepule can run 40 yards in 4.6 seconds. Strong and athletic, Paepule can play the three linebacker positions. He also is a starter on the Saint Louis basketball team.
Boatner, who is 5 feet 11 and 170 pounds, can run 40 yards in 4.5 seconds and 100 meters in 11.2 seconds. He was a four-year starter at Winston. Last year, he was named Most Valuable Player of District II.
In November, he competed in the Mississippi Private School Association's all-star game. He caught two passes in that game, but both went for touchdowns, of 77 and 10 yards. He was named the Offensive Player of the Game.
"He's a real good kid," said Joe Ward, an assistant coach at Winston. "He's not cocky, he's confident. I think he'll fit in really well with Coach Jones' offense."
Alabama-Birmingham and Mississippi pursued Boatner, who committed to UH during his recruiting trip to the Islands last weekend. But UH coaches asked Boatner to delay an announcement until after discussing his decision with his mother.
"I enjoyed the trip," Boatner said. "It was awesome."
He played wide receiver as a freshman and sophomore, but moved to tailback as a junior because Winston did not have an experienced quarterback that season. That year, Ward distributed a highlight tape to several schools.
"I was interested in Hawai'i after watching them play on television," said Boatner, who is expected to play slotback at UH.
Wright will try to succeed Mat McBriar, who completed his UH football eligibility last month.
Last season, Wright averaged 43.55 yards per punt. He also was used on kickoffs.
"He has an extremely strong leg," Southwest coach Dominic Green said. "Probably some day he'll be in the NFL if he works at it."
Wright, who was raised in Bay Saint Louis, Miss., did not receive any scholarship offers as a high school senior and decided to enroll at Southwest last August.
Because Wright was an academic qualifier as a high school senior he scored 27 out of a possible 30 points on the ACT he can transfer immediately to an NCAA school. Arkansas pursued Wright, but he decided to commit to UH after returning from his recruiting trip to the Islands Monday.
"They're an up-and-coming team," he said. "I feel I can do as much for them as they can do for me."
Meanwhile, Willie Tagoai, a free safety from Palomar College in California, said he has narrowed his choice to UH or Nevada-Las Vegas. He said he canceled his scheduled trip to Colorado.
Tagoai was born in Honolulu and moved to San Diego when he was 8. His parents have returned to Honolulu. "They want me to go to UH," he said. "It's going to be a tough choice."
Tagoai, who is 6 feet 2 and 204 pounds, was named to the junior college All-America second team last season.