Today's the day. Stephen Tsai writes about the last-minute recruiting battles
"There are two minutes left in the game," UH coach Greg McMackin said last night, "and we're in the red zone."
The Warriors are optimistic that most of their recruits will turn pledges into written commitments. But how many? To that, they do not have a precise figure.
Wai'anae High defensive tackle Wade Keli'ikipi is leaning toward accepting a late-scholarship offer from Oregon. Kapolei High linebacker Chad Lopati is split between UH and Oregon State.
"Chad is taking it to the midnight hour," Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez said.
They just had a signing day ceremony at the Blaisdell, so I'm sure there will be lots of updates to follow...UPDATE
: Stephen Tsai has a list of players
who have signed letters-of-intent with UH so far. Here are some of them:
• T.J. Alofipo, linebacker
• David Graves, quarterback
• Chad Lopati, linebacker
: A few more names added. Visit the Warrior Beat for the full list, which Tsai is updating as he gets info.
• Zach Masch, defensive tackleUPDATE 3
• Corey Nielsen, quarterback
: Tsai writes that Jonathan Watts will not sign with UH.
By mutual agreement, it was decided that Jon Bon Watts will not attend UH. Watts gave a verbal commitment Sunday. But he lives in Florida and has two children, and it was decided it would be too much of hardship for him to play in Hawai‘i.UPDATE 4
: HawaiiAthletics.com has a Football Signing Day Central web page
which has a list of all the shiny new recruits along with some background info.LATE UPDATE (2/22/09)
: I've appended Tony Tuioti's comments about each recruit
to the end of their HawaiiAthletics.com background info profiles. The comments are in italics:
Kamalani Alo (S, 6-2, 200, Fr, Kahuku HS)
Named one of the top 100 players in the Northwest…ranked 82nd nationally at his position…multi-sport athlete at Kahuku, where he also played soccer and participated in track and field (100m, 110-hurdles, 4x100 relay, shot put and discus)…named to The Honolulu Advertiser Division I all-state first team and Honolulu Star-Bulletin all-state honorable mention….played in the H.U.B. Senior Bowl Goodwill Classic.
"He's kind of like a 'tweener. He might be a linebacker-safety-type of guy. He slipped through the cracks. He was a safety, but they had to use him as a linebacker. He'll be a big asset because he can run and he's an athletic player."
T.J. Alofipo (LB, 6-2, 240, Fr, Silverado [NV] HS)
Ranked 50th nationally at his position…rated as the state of Nevada’s No. 1 linebacker and fourth-best overall player…named to all-state and all-region teams in football and basketball…had 66 tackles and 11.5 sacks as a junior in 2007…heavily recruited by Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, BYU, Arizona, Washington, Washington State, Wisconsin, Fresno State, Boise State, and Utah.
"T.J. has closing speed. He has a knack for the ball. With this attacking defense, he can excel. He played in (a similar) defense. Hopefully, the transition will be smooth. He's a basketball kid, he's an athlete. He has great hands, and great feet. He has natural instinct to know where the ball is."
Kalani Brackenridge (DB, 5-11, 165, Fr, Kapolei HS)
Played cornerback for Kapolei…a two-sport athlete who also played on the Kapolei baseball team…brother Tyron plays for the New York Jets…named to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin all-state honorable mention…also recruited by Washington State, Idaho, and Wyoming.
"He covers a lot of ground. He's a playmaker. He can run. He's athletic. I noticed he's around the ball every time. He's like an Ed Reed. He gets interceptions and he makes plays."
Rodney Bradley (WR, 6-1, 190, Jr, Navarro [TX] CC)
Played receiver at Navarro and caught 29 passes for 555 yards, an average of 19.3 yards per catch in 2008 in a run-oriented offense…picked UH over Arizona and Houston.
"He catches everything with his hands. Everything thrown at him, he catches. That's because he doesn't get a lot of passes, so he couldn't afford to drop any."
Aaron Brown (S, 6-1, 215, Jr, Saddleback [CA] CC)
Ranked one of the best junior college players in the country…named to first-team all-Mission Conference…as a sophomore had a team-high four interceptions and 59 tackles, including 15 for loss and six sacks…broke up six passes and forced two fumbles…had 65 tackles as a freshman, including seven for loss…also forced three fumbles, had three fumble recoveries, and an interception with a 60-yard return…also recruited by Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona, and Washington State.
"He plays fast. He's got the instinct. He's a football player. He looks the part. He's physical. He'll be a steal for us."
George Daily-Lyles (LB, 5-11, 220, Fr, Long Beach Poly [CA] HS)
Named one of the top 100 players in the Northwest…anchored defensive unit on a team that advanced to the Division I state championship game…named the C.I.F. Southern Section Pac-5 Division co-Defensive Player of the Year…also recruited by Arizona and Colorado State.
"I love the way he plays. He plays the game right. Every time I watch him, body-wise, he reminds me of Solly (Solomon Elimimian). He can find the football. He makes a lot of plays, a lot of tackles. He's a vocal leader. A lot of guys follow him. Any time you can get a football player who's a leader, that's a good gift."
Lametrius Davis (DB, 5-11, 180, Jr, Butte [CA] CC)
Team captured the national championship after a perfect 12-0 record…had 21 tackles, one interception, and 10 pass breakups in 2008…ranked seventh in the conference in pass breakups…runs a 4.45 40-yard dash…also recruited by Oregon, Oregon State, and Arizona.
"He's rangy, but he can cover and he can run. The advantage is he's in school now. He can play in spring ball."
Chizzy Dimude (RB, 5-9, 190, Jr, Laney [CA] College)
Led the team in rushing with 546 yards…averaged 6.0 yards per carry and scored five touchdowns…attended the College of San Mateo as a freshman in 2006…also recruited by California, Colorado State, and Marshall.
"Chizzy is explosive. He's like Michael Brewster. He's a scatback, and he can go the distance if he gets out there."
David Graves (QB, 6-0, 190, Fr, Folsom HS)
Named Sacramento’s Metro Player of the Year…in 11 games, threw for 2,771 yards, completing 72 percent of his passes and 40 touchdowns…rushed for 696 yards and 11 touchdowns…competed 18-of-22 passes for 397 yards and five touchdowns against Jesuit…passed for 314 yards and five scores and rushed 111 yards and one TD against Oak Ridge…played wide receiver during his junior season and had 32 receptions for 420 yards while also rushing for 315 yards and four TDs…picked UH over Nevada, Kansas State, and Utah.
"He's accurate and very smart. We're excited about him."
Alex Green (RB, 6-2, 220, Jr, Butte [CA] CC)
Team captured the national championship after a perfect 12-0 record…led the team in rushing with 1,037 yards and 14 touchdowns during the regular season…also scored two receiving touchdowns…rushed for 119 yards on 27 carries in national championship game against Mt. San Antonio…named to the all-conference first team…also recruited by Arizona, Washington, and Washington State.
"Alex has power and speed. He likes to be physical. He looks like Marion Barber when he runs the football. He's got a great attitude."
David Hafoka (DT, 6-1, 315, College of San Mateo [CA])
In 10 games as a sophomore, amassed 28 tackles, including 3.5 for loss and two sacks…also had three pass breakups and recovered one fumble….picked UH over Utah, Arizona, Washington, and Washington State.
"We need a guy like him. We need guys to help us stop the run, and David Hafoka is that type of player for us. He can clog those gaps, and let the linebackers make some plays."
Melvin Hopkins (DB, 5-9, 160, Navarro [TX] CC)
In 11 games during sophomore season, tallied 53 tackles, including 40 solo tackles…has excellent speed and explosiveness…runs a 4.45 40-yard dash and has a 38-inch vertical…picked UH over Arizona and Houston.
"Hopkins has that attitude where he wants to be physical. He can flat-out run."
Joey Iosefa (S, 6-1, 190, Fr, Fagaitua HS [American Samoa])
Considered one of the best recruits from American Samoa…played quarterback, free safety and linebacker during his senior season…named the offensive player of the year and led Fagaitua to the national championship in 2007…participated in the Hawai‘i/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl.
"He played quarterback, and he has a quarterback's mentality. He's an athlete. His role coming out might be on special teams. That's an important role."
Brett Leonard (OL, 6-5, 305, Jr, Saddleback [CA] JC)
Named to the all-Southern Conference second team as a sophomore…team averaged 482.5 yards of total offense and 39.8 points per game…also recruited by California, Miami (Ohio), and Marshall.
"He's agile and he's athletic. We want to put some good weight on him."
John Lister (RB, 6-1, 205, Fr, Thousand Oaks [CA] HS)
Named the Marmonte League’s Most Valuable Player and the All-Ventura County Offensive Player of the Year… rushed for 2,238 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2008…also recruited by Nevada, Utah, and UNLV.
"He's a young guy. But when his number is called, he'll come out of the gates. With his frame, it looks like he can hold 230 easy and still be a good running back. He doesn't have any fat on his body. He's a downhill runner. He's a legit 4.5, 4.6 runner."
Jordan Loeffler (OL, 6-5, 280, Fr, Hilo HS)
Named Division I all-state honorable mention by The Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin…qualified for the state track and field championships in the shot put…played in the Hawai‘i/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl…also recruited by Washington and Washington State.
"He'll be a project for us, but that's good. That's what you want to do sometimes. You want to bring him in, get him bigger and faster, and he'll pay off. He'll learn the system."
Chad Lopati (LB, 6-2, 250, Fr, Kapolei HS)
Named one of the top 100 players in the Northwest …rated the seventh best recruit out of the state of Hawai‘i…named to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin all-state second team and The Honolulu Advertiser all-state honorable mention… recorded 98 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks as a senior and 90 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks as a junior…finished his career as Kapolei’s all-time leader in sacks…played in the Hawai‘i/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl…heavily recruited by Oregon State, Colorado, California, and Washington.
"Man, Chad is a good player. He's a big, physical guy. He also can play defensive end."
Benson Ma‘afala (OL, 6-3, 305, Fr, Damien Memorial School)
Named one of the top 100 players in the Northwest …named to The Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin Division I all-state second team…played in the Hawai‘i/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl…picked UH over Colorado and Washington.
"He'll be good for the line. He has a big body, and he can play."
Marcus Malepeai (DT, 6-2, 245, Fr, Radford HS)
Named to The Honolulu Advertiser Division II all-state first team and Honolulu Star-Bulletin all-state second team as a senior…anchored defensive line on team that finished state runner-up in the Division II championship…played in the Hawai‘i/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl…also recruited by Washington.
"He's got a lot of talent."
Veni Manu (DE, 6-4, 230, Fr, Mililani HS)
Named one of the top 100 players in the Northwest…named to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin all-state honorable mention…played in the Hawai‘i/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl….also recruited by Colorado and Utah.
"He can run. He's got long arms. He's another guy who can become a good player. He's got a lot of upside. And Ma'a Tanuvasa coached him, so you know he's had good coaching."
Zachary Masch (DT, 6-2, 285, Jr, Arizona Western CC)
Played two seasons for Arizona Western…in 10 games played in 2008, amassed 44 tackles, including 5.5 for loss and four sacks…as a junior had 33 tackles, including 4 for a loss…a graduate of Nevada Union High School, where he earned first team all-metro and first team all-San Joaquin Delta Region honors…helped lead NUHS to a Division I Section Championship and represented his school at the Blitz 3 All-Star Game...picked UH over UCLA, San Jose State, Nevada, and Idaho.
"He's physical. He can add depth to our tackles."
Corey Nielsen (QB, 5-11, 185, Fr, Gahr [CA] HS)
Ranked 60th nationally at his position…during senior season, threw for 3,032 yards and 30 touchdowns…threw for four or more touchdowns in five games…as a junior, led the state and ranked third in the nation in passing after throwing for 4,363 yards and 35 touchdown passes...completed 65 percent of his passes and had only five interceptions…threw for over 400 yards in five games, including a 453-yard, six-touchdown performance...named San Gabriel Valley League MVP and led Gahr to a 10-3 record and the CIF-SS Western Division semifinals….over his career, threw for 8,236 yards and 73 touchdowns which ranks 13th all-time in the state of California…played in the Hawai‘i/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl…picked UH over Arizona, UNLV, Idaho, Utah State, Harvard, and Yale.
"He's a smart kid. He loves Hawai'i football. He wants to be here for the right reasons. Some people might have questions about his height. But he's smart, and he finds ways to make plays. He's a playmaker, and he's proved that. He has a big heart and a lot of confidence."
Deondre Powell (WR, 5-8, 160, Fr, Gahr [CA] HS)
As a senior, caught 54 passes for 736 yards and eight touchdowns following his junior season in which he had 73 receptions for 1,244 yards and 11 touchdowns and was named to the all-C.I.F. Western Division first team…also recruited by Arizona.
"He's a Davone Bess-type; he gets a lot of yards after catches. He's fun to watch."
Cayman Shutter (QB, 6-1, 180, Fr, Punahou School)
Ranked one of the top 100 players in the Northwest… passed for 2,403 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior…named to The Honolulu Advertiser Division I all-state first team and Honolulu Star-Bulletin all-state second team…led Punahou School to the school’s first state football championship…threw for 400 yards and two scores and rushed for another in the championship game against Leilehua…led state in passer rating (186.1) and completion percentage (65%) as a junior in 2007…threw for 21 touchdowns in only 133 pass attempts…played in the Hawai‘i/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl…picked UH over New Mexico.
"It's a great thing when you can get a quarterback who won a state championship. It shows what it takes to win. We need guys like that in our program. Hopefully, he'll be a leader for us."
Destin Stewart (WR, 6-4, 200, Fr, Douglass [OK] HS)
Named one of the top 35 players in the state of Oklahoma… named to the Oklahoma Coaches Association’s 2008 all-state team as a receiver, despite playing in a run-oriented offense…also named first team all-state by the Tulsa World…also played defensive back with more than 50 tackles and three interceptions…named to the Daily Oklahoman’s all-state second team as a punter…runs a 4.5 40-yard dash…member of the Douglass High School basketball team…picked UH over Missouri and Tulsa.
"He's big and he's physical. A lot of guys see him and think he's a senior (in college)."
Billy Ray Stutzmann (WR, 6-0, 160, Fr, Saint Louis School)
Named one of the top 100 players in the Northwest…ranked the sixth best recruit from the state of Hawai‘i…named to The Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin Division I all-state first team…earned second team all-state honors from the Honolulu Star Bulletin and honorable mention all-state from The Honolulu Advertiser as a junior…finished his career with 115 receptions for 1,686 yards and 18 touchdowns…won the state title in the 100-meters and 200-meters in track…played in the Hawai‘i/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl...also recruited by Oregon State, Washington, and Washington State.
"He's a player. He proved he can play at a top level. He's done everything the right way."
Aulola Tonga (S, 6-3, 200, Fr, Kahuku HS)
Named one of the top 100 players in the Northwest…selected to The Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin Division I all-state first team as a senior…played in the Hawai‘i/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl.
"He has a great attitude. He's a physical player. He can be a linebacker or a safety. He has a knack for the ball. He can jump. He's a basketball guy."
Michael Wadsworth (S, 6-1, 190, Fr, Silverado [NV] HS)
One of the state of Nevada’s top recruits….named to all-state teams during his junior and senior seasons…played both wide receiver and safety…as a junior, had eight kickoff or punt returns for touchdowns while leading Silverado to the Southeast Division title…also recruited by Arizona, Stanford, BYU, and Colorado State.
"He's smart, a 4.0 guy. And he can play."
Chauncy Winchester Makainai (OL, 6-4, 325, Fr, Kailua HS)
Named one of the top 100 players in the Northwest…named to The Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin Division I all-state first team…played in the Hawai‘i/Polynesia-Mainland Bowl…also recruited by California, Oregon, Arizona, and Washington.
"He's big and athletic. He can help us in a lot of different ways."
There's also video of Coach Greg McMackin talking about the recruiting season on the UH Football front page
: Paul Honda has a report from today's signing ceremony
at the Blaisdell.
Some of UH’s signees flew thousands of miles to seal their deals. Corey Nielsen of Gahr High School (Calif.) was right there in the second row with his future teammates.
“I wanted to sign with my family — everyone here,” said Nelson, who was honored as an Old Spice player of the year.
Nielsen chatted with Kailua guard Chauncy Winchester-Makainai, who committed to UH early and never wavered. In fact, the whole procedure was somewhat dull for Winchester-Makainai. Only one thought prevailed for him during the press conference.
“When do I start practice? I want to work hard and get a starting spot — try and get a starting spot,” he said.
Honda's article has more comments from UH commits.UPDATE 6
: The front page of HonoluluAdvertiser.com
is currently (2:07pm HST) streaming Coach Mack's press conference discussing the recruits.UPDATE by Chawan Cut: Honolulu Advertiser's Signing Day site
<-- press conference done but the audio is cached and ready to re-listen (make sure you un-mute the video) Audio on KKEA
- Audio done. Tune in later this afternoon for the SportsAnimals show 4-6pm HST. they'll do a broadcast from Murphy's Bar & Grill at the Recruiting/100th Football Birthday celebration.