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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 22, 2006

UH lands Saint Louis' Purcell

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer


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Defensive end Elliott Purcell Jr. of Saint Louis School yesterday accepted a football scholarship offer from the University of Hawai'i.

"I really wanted to stay in Hawai'i, where I'm comfortable," Purcell said.

Last month, Purcell gave a verbal commitment to New Mexico State. But soon after, he began to reconsider. He decided to choose UH after consulting with his family.

"Everybody was telling me to get off the rock," he recalled. "I just prayed with my family. I knew I wanted to play in front of my family. They supported me. They knew UH is where I wanted to go. I had to make that decision: Where would I feel more comfortable spending my time for the next four or five years?"

He said he welcomes the family reunion he will have on the Manoa campus. He is related to UH defensive ends Melila Purcell III and Amani Purcell, linebacker Brashton Satele, center Samson Satele, guard Hercules Satele and running back Nate Ilaoa.

"I'm going to have a lot of family on the team," he said.

Purcell, who is 6 feet 3, said he has gained 14 pounds since the end of the 2005 season and now weighs 230.

He said he will be allowed to play either defensive end or outside linebacker in the Warriors' 3-4 scheme.

"They said it depends on how big I get," said Purcell, who is leaning toward playing linebacker. "We'll see how it goes."

Purcell said he has run 40 yards in 4.8 seconds.

Purcell, who also plays basketball, received an offer from Utah State.

"I was born and raised in Hawai'i," he said. "This is where I'm from, and this is where I want to be."

He said he received encouragement and wisdom during his UH visit from his host, defensive lineman Rocky Savaiigaea.

"He's a cool guy, and he gives good advice," Purcell said. "He told me not to worry about what others think. He told me to go to the school where I feel the most comfortable.

"Hawai'i is the right place. I want to play in front of my family, and UH is the home team. I wanted to play with the best, and UH is really good."

Reach Stephen Tsai at stsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.