Huskies committed to talent in Hawaii
By Ferd Lewis
It could have been playing alongside Itula Mili and Mark Atuaia and rooming with Kaipo McGuire at Brigham Young University in the mid-1990s.
Or playing against the University of Hawai'i in the old Western Athletic Conference.
And then coaching with and against Hawai'i products while at Southern California.
But somewhere along the line in his college career Steve Sarkisian acquired a healthy respect for the spirit and talent of football players from Hawai'i.
So, one of the first things he did upon being named the head coach at the University of Washington 13 months ago was hop a flight here to do some recruiting.
That dedication could help make Sarkisian and the Huskies the big winners in local recruiting a week from today on national letter of intent day. The Huskies, who already have four commitments, could end up with five or six recruits and some of the biggest names on Feb. 3, the first day that high school players can sign binding agreements.
Kahuku High defensive end Hauoli Jamora, perhaps, the top prospect in the state, has already committed to the Huskies as have Waialua offensive tackle Micah Hatchie, Mililani safety Taz Stevenson and 'Aiea defensive tackle Lawrence Lagafuaina.
'Iolani defensive tackle Sealii Epenesa and Punahou defensive back Jeremy Ioane are also among those considering UW.
UW has long had a presence here predating Bern Brostek and Olin Kreutz, who went on to NFL careers, but never have they netted as many as four players from Hawai'i in a single recruiting class.
If the Huskies cash in this year, on top of the two recruits Sarkisian signed from here last year, that would give Hawai'i, by far, its largest presence in Seattle come the fall. Something to consider when UW plays UH in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
When the returns are in, perhaps only in Washington and California will the Huskies have made more of an investment this recruiting season than that being made here.
While Sarkisian is prohibited by NCAA rules from commenting on prospects prior to letter of intent day, he said he's been long impressed with the tenacity, talent and toughness of Hawai'i players over the years. "That's important, especially where we are at in trying to build a foundation for our program," Sarkisian said.
"To me," Sarkisian said, "it (Hawai'i) seemed like a natural place to recruit."