UH adds 2 from California
BY Stephen Tsai
In moves worthy of a block party, the Hawai'i football team secured verbal commitments from two California high school standouts.
Vista Murrieta High cornerback John Hardy-Tuliau, who is credited with setting a California state record for blocked kicks, and Ocean View High center Kody Afusia, a skilled run- and pass-blocker, have agreed to accept scholarship offers from the Warriors.
They will put their pledges in writing Feb. 3, the first day recruits may sign binding national letters of intent.
"It's a great fit for me," said Hardy-Tuliau, who visited Hawai'i the past weekend. "I really enjoyed it. I like the coaches. I like the people."
Of his weekend trip, Afusia said, it felt "like home."
Afusia said he has several relatives in Hawai'i. During the trip, he was reunited with a cousin who also is being recruited by the Warriors.
Hardy-Tuliau and Afusia are projected to meet the NCAA requirements to play as freshmen. They will enroll in UH's summer school in July.
Hardy-Tuliau is 6 feet 1 and 165 pounds.
During his varsity career, he blocked 26 kicks — a state record, according to CalHiSports.
"I just have a knack for blocks," Hardy-Tuliau said.
This past season, Hardy-Tuliau amassed 65 tackles, 10 interceptions and nine pass deflections. He scored three touchdowns.
He was named to the MaxPrep's All-California Division I second team.
His father is John Hardy, who played two seasons with the Chicago Bears.
Hardy-Tuliau said he received interest from Colorado, Washington and Stanford. But he said choosing UH was an easy decision.
Hardy-Tuliau enjoys playing basketball and bowling. His high score in bowling is 256. He hopes to help lead the Warriors to a football bowl.
Afusia is 6 feet 2 1/2 and 295 pounds. He is capable of bench pressing 360 pounds.
Last year, Afusia competed in the shotput. As a wrestler, he built a 32-10 record in the 285-pound division. The school record is 34 victories.
Afusia said he will focus solely on football training this semester.
Afusia said he received offers from San Jose State and Montana State.
UH's Matagisila Lefiti served as Afusia's host. Although they are both centers, Afusia said, "my host made me feel at home. He answered all of my questions. He was real cool. He helped me out a lot."
Afusia said he also had encouraging discussions with UH line coach Gordy Shaw.
"He likes my intensity," Afusia said.
Afusia can play defense — he was named the Golden West League's Defensive Player of the Year — but will compete at center at UH.
During his trip, Afusia picked up a new hobby: surfing. He received lessons from Rich Miano, the associate head coach.
"It was fun going out there surfing," Afusia said. "I tried, but I couldn't stand on the board. It's hard to get 300 pounds up."
In football, at least, Afusia is glad to be on board.