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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Slotback, lineman commit to Hawai'i

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

In its talent search, the University of Hawai'i football team reached for Skyline.

The Warriors yesterday received commitments from Davone Bess, a slotback from Skyline High in Oakland, Calif., and Daniel Johnson, an all-state offensive tackle from Skyline High in Washington state.

"I felt Hawai'i was the right place for me," said Bess, who will begin attending classes at UH next week.

Bess earned a qualifying SAT score, and his eligibility was approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse. He will compete in spring practice, and have five years to play four seasons.

Bess, who is 5 feet 11 and 190 pounds, has run 40 yards in an electronically timed 4.45 seconds. He can dunk a basketball.

As a Skyline senior in 2002, he played quarterback, receiver, safety and cornerback. He said he did not play the past two seasons because of personal problems. He said he has resolved his problems.

"Right now, everything is good," Bess said. "Hawai'i is a good opportunity. It will be good to go away and focus."

Bess said he has kept in shape by training with a track coach. "I'm working to keep my body toned," he said.

Bess is projected to play slotback at UH.

Johnson, who is 6 feet 4 and 270 pounds, said he notified the UH coaches yesterday morning.

He said he consulted with family members Sunday night and "talked about my college career and what fit me best. We came to the conclusion that the University of Hawai'i is where I want to play football."

Johnson said he will cancel this weekend's visit to Idaho, and will end the recruiting process with Washington.

Johnson was named to the King County 4-A all-star first team. He also was selected as the county's most valuable lineman.

He visited Hawai'i during the weekend that UH upset Michigan State, an outcome that qualified the Warriors for the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl.

"I really got to talk with the coaches and players," Johnson said.

He added that UH offensive line coach "Mike Cavanaugh was definitely helpful with my deciding point. He's a great coach. He coached in the NFL for two years. He knows what he's talking about. I felt, with him, I could maximize my potential on and off the field.

"All the players I talked to made it sound like he was truly kind of a father to them, and I could talk to him about anything. And he helps out. That's always a great aspect to have in a coach."

Johnson also said he wanted to play in head coach June Jones' four-wide passing system.

"June Jones is a genius with his coaching strategies, and I'm excited to play for him," Johnson said. "Another thing that was a deciding factor was all of the players told me how much they love Hawai'i and how the football program is the best thing that happened to them. I want that to be a part of me."

Johnson can run 40 yards in 5.0 seconds and bench press 330 pounds three times.

He played offensive tackle and strongside defensive end at Skyline. But he is projected to play on the offensive line at UH.

"I love to play offense," he said. "That's my passion."

UH also learned that safety Viliami Nauahi, a 2003 Kahuku High graduate, will join the Warriors for the 2005 season.

Nauahi had spent the past two years working in Florida.

Reach Stephen Tsai at stsai@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8051.