Solid efforts by ex-Warriors Pair hamstrung due to leg injuries
BY Stephen Tsai
CARSON, Calif. — Several former Hawai'i football players are hopeful of attracting attention from pro scouts after yesterday's performances at Pro Day.
Linebacker R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane bench-pressed 225 pounds 36 times, best among UH prospects.
"Between 36 and 40 is a good number, but I'm disappointed," Kiesel-Kauhane said. "I've done more in the past."
At 5 feet 11 and 226 pounds, Kiesel-Kauhane conceded, "I'm under-sized, underweight (for a linebacker). I have to make up for things by jumping higher and running faster. There has to be something outstanding in my performance."
Running back Daniel Libre did especially well, leading the way in the vertical jump (36 1/2 inches), broad jump (10 feet 7) and pro-agility drill (4.01 seconds). The 5-foot-7 3/4, 197-pounder also had 22 bench reps.
Wideout Jovonte Taylor had the fastest time in the 40-yard dash (4.34 seconds). Most remarkable, he ran it with a tight left hamstring.
"It could be that I didn't drink enough water," Taylor said. "That could have had a lot to do with it."
Taylor said he had difficulty with his grip while running the pro-agility drill and L-test.
"It's like a different kind of turf," he said of the artificial surface. "I don't usually slip. I'm used to running on turf. But for some reason, I couldn't plant."
And offensive linemen Aaron Kia, Raphael Ieru and Ray Hisatake impressed scouts during the position drills.
BACK IN THE RUNNING
For running back Nate Ilaoa, the most difficult part about staging a comeback was receiving permission from his wife.
"That was tough," he said, laughing. "But I'm trying to do this for both of us, and the kid."
Ilaoa completed his UH eligibility in December 2006, and was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the sixth round of the 2007 draft.
But the Eagles had an All-Pro running back, and they selected another ball-carrier in that draft.
"I got a fair shot," Ilaoa said. "I thought I did OK. Obviously, I wasn't good enough."
A year later, Ilaoa signed with an Arena Football League team. But his season was cut short because of a shoulder injury, and at the end of the season, the AFL shut down operations.
Last year, Ilaoa said, "I got married and had a kid. I put everything on pause to get it situated."
But he did not retire.
"I can't retire unless I'm in, and I was never in," Ilaoa said.
Serving as a UH student manager last year, Ilaoa got the urge to give it one more shot. He called Chad Ikei, who runs a successful training program in Arizona.
"I knew Nate could play," Ikei said. "It was him getting mentally ready."
Ilaoa, who is 5 feet 8 1/2, weighed 272 when he reported to Ikei's facilities.
"It was a lot of hard work, a lot of diet, and him being disciplined," Ikei said. "He went through some good Warrior workouts."
Ilaoa weighed 245 yesterday. He had 32-inch vertical jump and bench-pressed 225 pounds 23 times.
"I'm hoping somebody gives me an opportunity," Ilaoa said.
PLAYING WAITING GAME
In what amounts to a PSAT, linebacker Brashton Satele and offensive tackle Laupepa Letuli ran the 40-yard dash yesterday.
Both are awaiting a decision from the NCAA on their appeal for medical hardships that would enable them to play as sixth-year seniors in 2010.
Satele was credited with covering the distance in 4.6 seconds, although one scout timed him at 4.59 seconds.
"I wanted to do a lot better," Satele said.
Both have maintained their NCAA eligibility by taking on-line classes and not signing with agents.
One of the surprise participants was cornerback JoPierre Davis, who was suspended for the 2009 season after facing seven criminal charges.
Davis said he accepted an agreement in January in which pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault charges in exchange for a year's probation. The sentence will be reduced if he stays out of trouble for the first six months.
"I kept it solid the whole time," Davis said. "I kept my head in the books."
Davis said he trained on his own. He is taking 18 credits this semester, and is expected to earn his bachelor's degree next month.