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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 4, 2010

'Chicken-skin' day for Hawaii

BY Stephen Tsai
HawaiiWarriorBeat.com Editor

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Saint Louis School safety Marcus Umu signs his national letter of intent with the University of Hawai'i in ceremonies at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.

JEFF WIDENER | Honolulu Advertiser

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

University of Hawai'i head football coach Greg McMackin said he's "excited about this class" of recruits.

DEBORAH BOOKER | Honolulu Advertiser

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Kamehameha's Beau Yap reminds UH defensive line coach Dave Aranda as "a raw John Fonoti" a former Warrior.

STEPHEN TSAI | Honolulu Advertiser

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Defensive lineman Desmond Dean of Tyler High in Texas, "has all the potential in the world," says Aranda.

Courtesy photo

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Finally, defensive end Beau Yap of Kamehameha Schools was ready to exhale.

"I feel relieved right now, getting this recruiting process off my back," said Yap, The Advertiser's co-Defensive Player of the Year, after signing a letter of intent with the University of Hawai'i football team yesterday morning. "I can be a kid again."

Yap's signing one of 26 by future Warriors completed a whirlwind week in which Yap committed to Baylor, de-committed to the Waco, Texas, school, and then pledged to the alma mater of his father, Boyd Yap, the 1979 state Player of the Year.

"It's terrific," Boyd Yap said. "He's going to have a great time."

Beau Yap said: "I grew up as a UH fan. I'm proud to be going there."

Yap decided on UH while traveling from Oregon State, where he took a weekend recruiting trip.

"I woke up (during the flight), and it kind of hit me: I couldn't leave home."

He added: "Nothing can beat Hawai'i. The comfort level is so high. It was hard for me to say 'no' to (Baylor), but Hawai'i is the only place for me."

Yesterday was the first day football prospects were permitted to sign binding commitment letters.

The Warriors, who began piecing together this class two years ago, encountered no surprises as commitments were faxed to the Mānoa campus.

Although a scholarship was reserved for Farrington High defensive end VJ Fehoko (signed with Utah), the third son of UH's mascot, the Warrior coaches did not anticipate his commitment and, in fact, already filled their pass-rushing needs.

Entering the offseason, the Warriors sought defensive ends, offensive linemen, cornerbacks and receivers.

They signed four rush ends, five blockers a sixth, if they were to count grayshirt Jordan Loeffler, who is enrolled in school two play-making corners, and four speedy receivers.

UH coach Greg McMackin dismissed talk of the lack of four-star recruits, insisting that he valued his staff's evaluation of talent over scouting-service rankings.

"I'm excited about this class," McMackin said.

The feeling, apparently, is mutual.

"It's chicken-skin time," Kapolei High linebacker Tu'ulauena Lolohea said after signing his letter. "It feels good to finally get it written down. I'm ready to play for Hawai'i."

Here's a look a the recruiting class:


Name    Ht.   Wt.   Last School

Kevin Spain 6-2 205 Paradise Valley (Ariz.) High

Quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich: "He's unselfish. He wants to win. Physically, he's a good athlete. The best thing about him is the catch-ability of his passes. And his accuracy. He has a lot of natural tools that will make him special down the road."


Name    Ht.   Wt.   Last School

Kody Afusia 6-3 285 Ocean View (Calif.) High

David Lefotu 6-4 290 Pearl City High

Frank Loyd 6-5 275 Moanalua High

London Sapolu 6-1 295 Orange Coast College

Sean Shigematsu 6-6 255 Kapa'a High

Line coach Gordy Shaw: "Kody never came off the field. I believe he was an All-CIF defensive lineman. Based on his stature and talent, we could project that he was going to be just what we're looking for at that position (center). ...

"David is a big, physical guard-type guy who has tremendous strength. ....

"Frank is an interesting guy. Last spring, he was a little over 6-3 and 230, but very athletic. He has long arms; that wing span that they talk about. He has a lot of upside. Today, he's touching 6-5 and he's 275. That's over a nine-month period, and he hasn't lost a step. He's going to be a very good tackle-type guy for us. ....

"Initially we were looking for a tackle. As we got into camp, and saw we had enough tackle guys we thought would be OK for this upcoming season, we were looking for an inside guy. (Sapolu will) either battle for the starting center position or be a backup. Physically, he's a good player. ....

"At the All-Poly camp, Sean was the guy everybody's eyes were going to him. At the time, he was 6-5 and about 235. A great athlete. He really stood out in that camp. He's 6-6, 250 now, and starts on the basketball team, starts on the volleyball. He has tremendous upside. He's going to be one of those tackles who's played here and gone on to play in the NFL."


Name    Ht.   Wt.   Last School

Samson Anguay 5-8 155 Campbell High

Darius Bright 6-5 225 City College of San Francisco

Corey Lau 5-8 145 Kailua High

Allen Sampson 5-8 155 Plant High (Fla.)

Rolovich: "Samson is that quick, make-a-guy-miss-type slot we've had success with in the past. I know his size is not the biggest, but he's built really well. He'll make some plays for us in the future. ...

"Corey Lau is the same type of player as Samson. He has enough straight-ahead speed to be successful. But he has the ability to make that one guy miss and get the extra yards. ...

"People will first notice (Sampson) has world-class speed. But his personality and the person he is will make him a great teammate. He's going to make an immediate impact on our kick return. We have to try to get the ball in his hands to make something happen."


Name    Ht.   Wt.   Last School

Desmond Dean 6-7 215 Tyler (Texas) High

Ipulasi Eselu 6-2 215 Moanalua High

David Katina 6-2 225 Fa'asao Marist (Am. Samoa)

Beau Yap 6-2 245 Kamehameha Schools

Defensive line coach Dave Aranda: Desmond is a guy we've had on our radar for a long time. He has all of the potential in the world. He has all of the bloodlines. He has all of the ability: the length, the speed. I feel Desmond has the most potential of all of the guys we brought in. His pop is 300 pounds. His grandfather played in the (National Football) League for how many years. What people look at is the weight. He's 6-7 and 215 pounds. But if you look at his family and his genes, weight is not a problem. ...

"We like (Eselu's) aggressiveness and his knowledge of the game, with his pop being a coach, and his mentality. He's going to grow into being a defensive end, at 240 (pounds). When we saw him in the summer, he was 190. He's 215 now. He's on his way." ...

"(Yap) reminds me of a raw John Fonoti. He has a natural get-off. His explosiveness and his hips are a natural gift."

Assistant head coach George Lumpkin: "Desmond is thin now, but he runs a 4.52 in the 40 and a 10.87 in the 100. If you remember, (Ikaika) Alama-Francis was about 212 when we got him. This kid is about the same. It's a matter of putting a lot of weight on him. ...

"The most positive things about (Katina) are his work ethic, his character, and his ability to understand what is required of him. He should be an outstanding defensive end."


Name    Ht.   Wt.   Last School

Calen Friel 6-2 260 Kailua High

Moses Samia 6-2 250 Saint Louis School

Aranda: "Moses has unbelievably long arms and unbelievably big hands. He's 250 pounds right now, and doesn't look it. We recruited Moses as a defensive tackle. ...

"Same thing with Friel. At the (UH coaches camp), he was 220 pounds. He's 260 right now. Both of those guys, in a year, will be 280. We feel they're active, tall, longer than some of the tackles."


Name    Ht.   Wt.   Last School

Dustin Elisara 6-2 245 Kapolei High

Tu'ulauena Lolohea 6-2 240 Kapolei High

Zachary Quines 6-3 210 Mililani High

Dominick Sierra 6-1 205 La Habra (Calif.) High

T.J. Taimatuia 6-3 225 Artesia (Calif.) High

Defensive coordinator Cal Lee: (Elisara) is very athletic. He has a great sense for the ball, and he has a motor. He's a big and strong athletic guy who can go out there and control the middle, and make sure nobody runs up the middle. ...

"What Tu'u brings on the field are what you look for in a linebacker. What he showed on his visit was the leadership qualities that he had, the take-charge qualities that you need on the defensive side of the ball. He's like a quarterback guy who's going to make people play hard. His actions speak louder than his words. He's not only an action guy, but he's a motivator. ...

"Zach is another one who can run to the ball. He's 6-3, a long, rangy kind of guy. The thing about Zach is he can make tackles in the open field. He's like a DB playing linebacker. He has great speed, great range. If we blitz, he's the kind of guy who can come off the edge. ...

"Dominick has great potential. He can make plays. He started off at defensive back, but because of his size, he'll become a good linebacker. He's got great closing speed. ...

"T.J. is another tall, rangy kind of player, like Zach is. He's not afraid to make contact. Defensively, you want guys who like to make contact. He wants to get there, and put a helmet where you want to put it. He has all of the skills and athleticism."


Name    Ht.   Wt.   Last School

Marcus Umu 6-1 190 Saint Louis School

Safeties coach Chris Tormey: "We had Marcus in (the coaches) camp last June, and we were really impressed with his ball skills. He must have had eight or 10 interceptions in the three days we worked with him. He has good instincts, and he showed good toughness. He has excellent size. He has great growth potential."


Name    Ht.   Wt.   Last School

John Hardy-Tuliau 6-1 165 Visa Murrieta (Calif.) High

Dee Maggitt 5-10 175 Lakes (Wash.)

Aranda: "I think John can help us right away, in terms of blocking kicks. Everywhere John has been, he's won. Everything that John has wanted to do, he's done. He's one of those guys. He has a magic touch to him. He has the height we want at corner. Our conference is a running conference, no doubt about it. We have to load the (tackle) box to play the run. Every team has that one receiver who has jump-ball possibilities. I think height at corner was a need, and he fits that need."

Tormey: "Dee was the top cornerback prospect in the state of Washington this past year. He was highly regarded. He comes from one of the very best high school programs in the state of Washington. They're going to be top-5 in the state every year, and they have Division I players every year. Great background there. He played at a high level. Fundamentally, he's very sound. Good feet. Good hands. Breaks on the ball well."


Name    Ht.   Wt.   Last School

Siaki Cravens 6-3 240 Long Beach City College

Christian "Bubba" Poueu-Luna 6-0 175 Great Oak (Calif.) High

Aranda: "Cravens is a great athlete. He played tight end/receiver out of high school. A great basketball player, very athletic. We feel outside back on the line of scrimmage is a great position for him. He's 6-3, 240 pounds, but at this point, he's one of our faster players. He's a 4.5 guy. The issue with him is he's going to be raw. In terms of the tools and the mentality. That's there. ...

"Bubba is a great athlete. He can play receiver or DB. He played quarterback this past season. He's really in a similar mode to Siaki. He's a super, super athlete. He's a force with the ball in his hand. As a junior, he played safety. We're going back and forth on him in the office. He's a guy who can go either way."

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

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