Former Warriors audition for NFL
BY Stephen Tsai
Former University of Hawai'i running back Jayson Rego majored in engineering.
Fittingly, his first project was to re-design his body.
Rego, who weighed 230 pounds in January, is now 200. He cut his body fat, from more than 20 percent, to 9 percent.
"I want to be the best I can be," said Rego, who is among more than 20 players with Hawai'i ties who will participate in today's Pro Day in Carson, Calif.
Each Division I-A school is entitled to a combine-like event that serves as an audition in front of National Football League scouts, general managers and personnel directors.
Because of Hawai'i's isolation, UH is allowed to stage its Pro Day on the West Coast. UH associate head coach Rich Miano, who is the Warriors' pro liaison, tries to schedule the event the day after Southern California's Pro Day, which usually draws scores of scouts.
Pro Day is supposed to be limited to a school's draft-eligible players. But Miano has worked out exemptions to allow some former Warriors to make hana-hou appearances, such as running back Nate Ilaoa, who was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007.
Center John Estes, left tackle Aaron Kia and linebacker Blaze Soares are widely regarded as the former Warriors with the best chances to be drafted or receive free-agent contracts.
But cornerback JoPierre Davis, who was suspended for the entire 2009 season because of legal problems, might attract attention if he can run the 40-yard dash in under 4.5 seconds.
Linebacker R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane also is intriguing because of his impressive weight-room totals.
Offensive lineman Ray Hisatake has drawn comparisons to Wayne Hunter, a former Warrior who recently signed a million-dollar contract with the New York Jets. Hisatake, like Hunter, started his collegiate career as a defensive lineman. Hisatake, who attended a California high school that did not field a football team, has the long reach and quick feet to overcome his lack of experience. Last year was the only season he started.
Fale Laeli, who appears to be in comic-book-hero shape, drew raves — but no contract offers — during last year's Pro Day. Laeli, who completed his UH eligibility in December 2008, has trained in Arizona, and is ready to give it another shot.
Running back Daniel Libre, who did not play last year after his request for an extra season was denied by the NCAA, also hopes strong workouts will parlay into interest from pro teams.
Rego had a limited career at UH. But not wanting to have future regrets, he signed up with trainer Chad Ikei, and worked out the past two months in Arizona.
"I'm going to leave it all out there," Rego said, "and see what happens."