UH gets defensive end
By Stephen Tsai
In a frenetic finish to the recruiting season, the Hawai'i football team secured a commitment from a top defensive lineman, closed in on a kicker and waited for an answer from a pass-rushing linebacker.
Today is the first day prospects may sign binding national letters of intent.
Yesterday, the Warriors tried to get a more definitive picture of their 2010 recruiting class.
The Warriors received a boost when Moses Samia, a defensive end from Saint Louis School, accepted a scholarship offer.
"I wanted to play in front of my family," Samia said. "Some players miss that opportunity. To me, family means everything. Now I get to play for a great program and I get to play in front of my family. I'm excited about the opportunity."
Samia, who is 6 feet 2 and 240 pounds, played defensive end for the Crusaders.
He has been told he projects to play defensive tackle or end at UH.
He turned down an offer from Baylor.
"I'm thankful for the (Baylor) offer," he said, "but I told the coaches, 'I'm going to Hawai'i.' "
Samia is a highly regarded baseball catcher for the Crusaders
Asked if he also will play for the Rainbow baseball team, Samia said: "If the (football) coaches allow me. Right now I'm going to focus on football."
Samia was raised in 'Ewa Beach, and began playing Pop Warner football in the sixth grade.
"I fell in love with the game," he said.
He also became a fan of the Warriors.
UH defensive coordinator Cal Lee contacted Samia during the 2009 season.
Samia competed in the Samoa Bowl and, after returning, kept in touch with Lee.
Samia took a UH recruiting trip the past weekend. Defensive tackle Geordon Hanohano, a Saint Louis School graduate, served as host.
"It was a good experience," Samia said. "That guy (Hanohano) is a clown. He cracks me up all of the time."
Then yesterday morning, Lee made the scholarship offer.
"I talked to my mom, and she told me, 'I'll support you in anything you do,'" Samia recalled. "I told her: 'I want to go to UH.' "
The Warriors also are expected to sign a kicker this morning.
According to people familiar with the situation, a scholarship offer was made last night.
The kicker and his family met last night to discuss the offer. The kicker wants to delay an announcement until this morning, although he has indicated he will sign with the Warriors.
The Warriors were seeking competition for Scott Enos, who converted 12 of 19 field-goal attempts and all 34 of his point-after tries last year. Enos will be a senior this year.
The Warriors reportedly are ahead in the recruiting skirmish for Farrington High linebacker V.J. Fehoko, a member of The Advertiser's All-State first team.
Fehoko, the son of de facto UH mascot Vili the Warriors, will announce his decision at a news conference this morning.
In a self-created drama, his choice will come from one of five hats, each representing a school, that will be placed in front of him. Spoiler alert: Fehoko has told reporters he narrowed his choices to Utah and UH.
The Warriors' 2010 class already has received a jump start.
Eight players who will count against "initial" signings already are enrolled at UH-Mānoa, including two of last year's starters — quarterback Bryant Moniz and long-snapper Luke Ingram.
Because Moniz and Ingram have been in the program less than two years, they count as initial signings.
Four players who gray-shirted in 2009 — running back Jon Lister, utility player Joey Iosefa, and offensive linemen Jordan Loeffler and Marcus Malepeai — also count as members of the 2010 recruiting class. A gray shirt is a recruit who delays joining a team for a semester.
What's more, two junior-college transfers — wideout Darius Bright and center/defensive tackle London Sapolu — are enrolled this semester.
Sapolu is the son of former UH great Jesse Sapolu.
Bright will fill a void created by the departure of starting right wideout Jovonte Taylor.
As a junior in 2008, Taylor suffered a viral infection that forced him to withdraw from school. He returned last spring, and emerged as the Warriors' No. 1 kick returner.
Because he spent a redshirt year in junior college, his only hope of returning to the Warriors was to seek a medical exemption for the 2008 season.
UH head coach Greg McMackin said that appeal was denied, and that Taylor will not be eligible to play in 2010.
Two players who made verbal commitments to UH — defensive tackle Viliami Fonokalafi of Kaimukī High and defensive end Charles Tuaau of Leilehua High — have decided to attend junior colleges. They are expected to go to Arizona Western.
Still, it appears the Warriors have addressed most of their offseason needs.
They have received commitments from five offensive linemen (not including Loeffler) and five receivers.
The Warriors have eight senior receivers on the 2010 roster.
The Warriors also were able to receive commitments from pass-rushers, including Beau Yap of Kamehameha Schools. Yap was The Advertiser's co-Defensive Player of the Year for 2009.
There are signing ceremonies scheduled throughout the state today.
Each of the UH recruits has a letter of intent. Once the Warriors receive a faxed copy of a signed letter of intent, it is considered to be a binding agreement.