NCAA clears Sample to play
|||It's shaping up to be a good season at UH|
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stephen Tsai
University of Hawai'i wideout Ian Sample said he was "ecstatic" to learn he received an exemption that will allow him to play as a sixth-year senior this football season.
"It's Christmas," Sample said. "I'm so happy. I can focus on playing instead of worrying about if I'm going to play or what I'm going to do if I don't get the year back. It feels great."
According to UH, the waiver was granted because Sample was deprived of the opportunity to play for two seasons. He withdrew from a previous school in 2002 to take care of his mother, who is suffering from multiple sclerosis. Last year, he suffered a knee injury in the third game, and was granted a medical hardship waiver from the Western Athletic Conference.
While waiting for the NCAA's ruling, Sample said, "pessimism did creep in my mind a little bit. I stayed optimistic. The people who knew the best were reassuring me. They didn't say 'no,' so that was a good thing. ... When I found out (yesterday) morning, (slotback) Davone (Bess) was making fun of me. He said I had a smile on my face about eight miles long."
Bess said: "He had a big Kool-Aid smile, which means his cheekbones were from ear to ear. I'm happy for him. He put in a lot of work all summer. He was out here all summer catching balls with us, running routes. He was hungry. I saw a new Ian from last summer to this summer. It would have been disappointing if he didn't get (the waiver)."
After playing left wideout the previous two seasons, Sample will complete at right wideout this year. He is challenging last year's starter, Ross Dickerson.
Sample is one of the Warriors' fastest receivers. Last March, he ran 40 yards in 4.47 seconds. In the Pro Day workout in May, he ran 4.42 seconds.
Sample, who joined UH as a walk-on in 2003, was awarded a scholarship last fall. Because he needs to pass two classes to earn his degree, he was told his scholarship would not be renewed for this season.
"I'm OK with that," said Sample, the son of former major league baseball player Billy Sample. "I've got two classes to take. That's not much money. I'm living with a friend now. That's the last thing on my mind right now. It's cool. Everything's taken care of."
RIVERS FLOWING AGAIN
Sample's return overshadowed the comeback of Jason Rivers, who missed last season because of an ankle injury and academic issues.
Rivers, whose football scholarship was revoked after he withdrew from school, rejoined the Warriors for spring practice. He earned 18 credits during the spring semester, and his scholarship was reinstated.
"That's another blessing for me," said Rivers, who worked in a warehouse this summer to pay for rent. "It's going to be a lot easier for me not having to worry about how I'm going to get through school and stuff."
Rivers was able to complete the required six 220-yard sprints yesterday.
"I feel fine," he said. "My ankle feels fine. I think I got my wind back."
Rivers and Chad Mock are competing for the starting job at left wideout.
WEDDING BLISS FOR C.J.
The honeymoon isn't over for outside linebacker C.J. Allen-Jones, who wore his wedding ring during yesterday's practice.
He married his childhood sweetheart last Saturday. Linebackers Brad Kalilimoku and Khevin Peoples were groomsmen.
"I met her in middle school, seventh grade," said Allen-Jones, who was raised in Maryland. "We go way back. We've been friends before we were anything else. Then she moved to Alaska. She called me up my junior year of high school, and we got together."
Allen-Jones proposed to Clarissa in Hawai'i.
"I took her to Ala Moana Beach Park, right after church. I surprised her. I got on my knees and gave her the ring. It was nice."
MAUIA FIT NOT FAT
Running back Reagan Mauia, a converted nose tackle and offensive lineman, did not complete his 10 220-yard sprints yesterday, but appears to be physically fit. He has lost 75 pounds from the end of the 2005 season, and now weighs 285.
He actually trimmed down to 280, but decided he needed to increase his intake of carbohydrates.
"That way I can have more energy," he said. "You can't run really hard with low fuel. I started putting in some good food."
Mauia is listed as the No. 2 running back, behind starter Nate Ilaoa.
IT'S A GAME OF INCHES
Kicker Daniel Kelly said the new rule limiting the height of a tee to 1 inch (from 2 inches) will have no impact on his game.
"The only time I used the 2-inch (tee) was when I did high kicks, like to (USC's) Reggie Bush," Kelly said. "Throughout high school and at UH (as a freshman last year), I went with the 1-inch (tee). I'm used to it."
Kelly said the lower tee will affect the kickers who were "booming the ball to the back of the end zone. ... It'll be a culture shock to them. I like the 1-inch (tee). It's more of a soccer style."
Reach Stephen Tsai at email@example.com.