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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 6:35 p.m., Saturday, May 5, 2007

Corner to join UH football team in fall

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

As a reward for its overall academic improvement, the University of Hawai'i football team will be allowed to use a 4-star cornerback a year earlier than expected.

Because the Warriors had appeared to have spent their allotment of scholarships for the 2007 season, Kenny Graham of Bakersfield (Calif.) College was prepared to join the Warriors in January 2008.

But the Warriors' improved Academic Progress Rate score led to four scholarships being reinstated, one of which will go to Graham.

"I'm happy to be joining the team this year," said Graham, who will move to Hawai'i in July and report to training camp in August.

The APR is a tool the NCAA uses to measure a team's eligibility and enrollment. Last year, the Warriors lost five football scholarships because of a poor APR score covering the academic years 2003-'04 and 2005-'06. That limited the Warriors to 80 scholarships for the 2006 season.

The Warriors still fell short of the APR standards for the three-year period from 2003-'04 to 2005-'06, absorbing a one-scholarship penalty for the 2007 season. That brought their scholarship limit to 84, one below the Division I-A maximum but four more than they had last season.

It is fitting that Graham should benefit. Graham was a highly regarded cornerback, receiving a 4-star rating from Scout.com, before struggling academically. Several schools, including Florida and Louisville, backed away when it appeared Graham would not earn an associate degree before the end of the summer. A two-year degree is an NCAA requirement for a junior-college transfer.

"I knew I would make it," said Graham, who is on track to earn his associate degree in June. He has a 3.0 grade-point average this semester.