Former Saber star commits to Hawai'i
|||Warriors will battle to the end|
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stephen Tsai
Tonight, the University of Hawai'i football team closes its 2005 season against San Diego State at Aloha Stadium.
Yesterday, the Warriors opened their 2006 recruiting drive, securing a commitment from defensive end David Veikune of Fresno City College.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity," said Veikune, a 2004 graduate of Campbell High School.
Veikune, who is 6 feet 3 and 245 pounds, has drawn comparisons to UH outside linebacker/rush end Kila Kamakawiwo'ole. Veikune was named to The Advertiser's 2004 All-State high school football team.
As a Campbell senior, Veikune signed with the University of Colorado. He redshirted as a freshman in 2004, then decided, "I really wanted to come back home and play."
Rather than sit out a year, he transferred from Colorado to Fresno City College, where he played this past season. Veikune said he will earn an associate degree in May, an NCAA eligibility requirement for a player transferring from a community college that fields a football team. At UH, he will have three years to play three seasons.
Veikune said he can run 40 yards in 4.7 seconds, and bench press a maximum 425 pounds. He also can bench 225 pounds 28 times.
Veikune said the UH coaches contacted him Thursday afternoon. He said he received a scholarship offer yesterday morning.
"I gave them my verbal commitment," he said.
UH is reserving football scholarships for five "gray shirts" — offensive lineman Brysen Ginlack of Kahuku High School, wideout Rick Taylor of Nease High School in Florida, lineman Adrian Thomas of Gymea Technology High School in Sydney, Australia, and defensive backs KayBrin Stevenson of Chandler (Ariz.) High School and Ulysses Dalton of Vallejo (Calif.) High School. Gray shirts are recruits who agree to enroll at midseason.
Carroll Joseph "C.J." Hawthorne, a 5-foot-11, 160-pound wideout from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, said he is "leaning toward signing with" the Warriors. Hawthorne is in town on a recruiting visit.
The Warriors (4-7) will not play in a postseason bowl for the first time since 2001 and third time in June Jones' seven seasons as UH head coach. The only consolation, Jones said, is his assistants will be free to meet with Mainland recruits.
"They haven't been on the road before Christmas in a long time," Jones said.
He has said his wish list is topped by defensive ends, cornerbacks and offensive linemen.
Jerry Glanville, who ended a 12-year hiatus from coaching to sign as defensive coordinator in April, will return to his home in Dawsonville, Ga., staying at least through the holiday season.
On Thursday, Glanville was carrying the seven shirts he wore during UH losses. He will donate them to the Church of the Apostles, where his wife plays the organ.
"June and I had a coach named Doug Shively, who was very, very superstitious," Glanville said. "If we ever won a game, we had to keep wearing the same attire. If we ever got beat, he'd make us throw it away. That's why I'm giving away these shirts. If we won a game, we weren't allowed to get haircuts. We weren't allowed to cut wins out of our hair."
UH has 19 seniors, although five — running backs Nate Ilaoa and Bryan Maneafaiga, wideout Ian Sample, defensive end Melila Purcell III, and safety Leonard Peters — are seeking exemptions to return next season.
"This is our last game," senior safety Lono Manners said. "We want to leave on a winning note."
Reach Stephen Tsai at email@example.com.