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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 23, 2009

Warrior wannabes try out

Photo gallery: Hawaii football walk-on tryout

By Stephen Tsai
HawaiiWarriorBeat.com Editor

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Hogan Rosehill, a former Kamehameha-Hawai'i basketball and football standout, works the 225-pound bench press during the University of Hawai'i's walk-on tryouts.

NORMAN SHAPIRO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Quentin Beaver was the biggest loser.

And by losing 60 pounds, he hopes to win a berth as a non-scholarship player on the Hawai'i football team.

Beaver, a defensive tackle, was one of 93 Walter Mittys and Walter Paytons who competed in the Warriors' walk-on tryout yesterday.

They were tested in the 40-yard dash, pro-agility drill and 225-pound bench press.

The nearly 2-hour audition drew a cross-section of candidates.

Offensive lineman David Garness, an invited walk-on, was raised in Alaska.

Jonovan Santos coaches football, basketball and track at Mililani High School.

One prospect appeared to be in his 30s, with a silver-dollar-sized bald spot.

Several ran in bare feet.

One ran in only his UnderArmours.

One could not lift the 225-pound weight off his chest. "I tried," he said, laughing.

Still, head coach Greg McMackin said he was pleased with the turnout. The Warrior coaches will evaluate the results today, and extend invitations soon after.

"There were a lot of good athletes," McMackin said. "Those who make it will be part of our family. Those who don't, I hope, will remain as fans. It's nothing personal. Sometimes it's a numbers game."

Bryant Moniz, who led Leilehua to the state championship game as a sophomore in 2004, was among the candidates. Moniz, who played at Fresno City College, is competing as a quarterback. He wore a black T-shirt with the words: All Bizness.

As a Kahuku High offensive lineman in 2002, Joseph Napeahi was named to the All-State second team. He received interest from Nebraska, Washington and Utah.

But Napeahi did not meet the requirements to play as an NCAA freshman.

Napeahi eventually enrolled at Fresno City College.

"Now, I'm here," said Napeahi, who is 6 feet 3 and 340 pounds. "I'm happy to be here."

Defensive end Aaron Rink attended the tryouts, although his place on the roster is solidified. Rink is 6 feet 3 1/2 and 228 pounds. He is capable of running 40 yards in 4.52 seconds.

"He's a player," UH running back Jake Heun said.

Santos also was impressive, despite having only two days to train. He learned of the tryouts from UH left tackle Aaron Kia.

"I just found out on Monday," Santos said. "I hadn't been going to the gym since November. I've been playing soccer and basketball. Soccer was my conditioning."

But Santos, who is 6 feet and 195 pounds, ran the 40 in 4.6 seconds. He also completed the pro-agility drill in 4.7 seconds. Santos will compete at wideout.

Offensive linemen Daniel Otineru and Lucas Kennard have championship rings as members of UH's 2007 team. But Otineru did not play in 2008 after undergoing surgery for sleep apnea. Kennard was cut because, at 250 pounds, he was deemed to be too light.

Both did not mind having to audition.

"I'm not tripping about it," Otineru said. "I'll do what I have to do."

Kennard, meanwhile, gained 35 pounds and now weighs 285. He can bench press 400 pounds.

"I kept working hard, working to get back out here again," Kennard said.

Then there was Beaver, a Kahuku High graduate who was one of the strongest Warriors last spring. He is capable of benching 500 pounds. Beaver is a perfect nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme. But as a defensive tackle in UH's 4-3 alignment, he was not fast enough.

"I was too heavy," said Beaver, who was cut during the summer. "It was understandable. I kind of expected it. I wasn't discouraged. I started eating right, and running. I lost 60 pounds. Everything is fine now."

Visit Tsai's blog at http://warriorbeat.honadvblogs.com.

Reach Stephen Tsai at stsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.