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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Beau Yap Commits to UH

Whoa! Stephen Tsai writes that Beau Yap will become a Warrior.
Beau Yap, The Advertiser's All-State co-Defensive Player of the Year, has accepted a football scholarship from the University of Hawaii, according to his father, Boyd Yap.

Yap, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound rush end from Kamehameha Schools, had made a commitment to Baylor last week. He visited Oregon State this weekend. But after returning today, he changed his mind and pledged a commitment to the Warriors.
Congrats to Beau! Here's his senior year highlights:

UPDATE (2/1/10): Stephen Tsai talks to Yap's father and coach at Kamehameha.
"Beau is staying home," Boyd Yap said.

Boyd Yap added: "It came on all of a sudden. I think it's great for Beau. ... We're happy for him. Basically, he decided to play at home. That's great."

Stant said he always tells his players to make college decisions based on long-range goals.

"Choose the place where you want to live the rest of your life," Stant said. "I played at UH, and I'm lucky to live and work here, hopefully for the rest of my life. If you go to school here, you're kind of known in the community after you graduate. If he wants to live here the rest of his life, I'm glad he's staying home."

Recruiting in Hawaii

Ferd Lewis has a list of the Advertiser's Top 25 recruits coming out of Hawaii this year, and how more and more schools are recruiting in UH's backyard.
Last year 27 players from Hawai'i signed with Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) schools on national letter of intent day, 10 with Bowl Championship Series member schools. This year the total will be similar.

They are remarkable numbers especially since, once upon a not-so-distant time, only a handful of so-called marquee schools sent coaches here to scout players. These days, however, Hawai'i has been turned into a veritable fishing tournament by recruiters. "It is becoming over-fished," groused one veteran recruiter.

Never before has the University of Hawai'i faced such a heavy or far-reaching onslaught for talent in its backyard. This year Arkansas, Baylor and Florida State joined the perennials — Brigham Young, Colorado, UCLA, Utah, Washington, etc. — in making scholarship offers.
And articles like this one from the Tulsa World is probably an indicator that recruiting will be getting even more competitive in the future.
Texas, Florida and Louisiana are known as the traditional high school football factories.

But none produces talent quite like Hawaii. Neither does any other state.

On a per capita basis, Hawaii produced the most players on Football Bowl Subdivision rosters in 2009, a Tulsa World analysis shows.

The Aloha State sent 3.8 players on to major college football teams per 1,000 boys age 15-19. That’s 50 percent more than the No. 2 state, Louisiana (2.5). Per capita, Honolulu is the top producing metro area (4.6), with almost 40 percent more than second-place New Orleans (3.2).

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Blake Muir to Grayshirt?

According to an Aussie fitness blog, looks like Blake Muir has accepted a grayshirt offer from UH.

Very few Australians have made it in American football. Fewer still are those who play positions other than punter. Blake Muir will be the seventh Australian to play football for the University of Hawai’i and will take over from current Warrior Adrian Thomas who is in his senior season in 2010.
Over at SportsHawaii.com, Hawkpeter confirms Blake's intentions of going to UH, where he will most likely playing offensive tackle.
Blake will be going over for a second visit the middle of next month with his parents and to meet Coach Shaw whom we did not get to meet last time we were there. At that time he will be able to confirm his intentions in person with UH. Blake was originally playing and preparing as a defensive end prospect but switched to an offensive focus mid way through the 2009 season. By the time next January comes around he'll be fully prepared as an offensive tackle.

The 2010 recruiting class still has to be finalized for UH, however Blake will be preparing as though he will not be on scholarship until August 2011; there are always variables with players qualifying and decommitting but at this stage the greyshirt scenario would be a fortunate bonus and every indication is that the football program is confident that the 2010 class will be considerably more solid than the 2009 class. The extra Spring semester will make a big difference in terms of development and is really seen as a necessary advantage to take.
Here's a highlight video of him from last year:

Friday, January 29, 2010

Jeff Ulbrich to coach for Seahawks

And not for UH :( Anyway, congrats to Ulbrich!
Former 49ers linebacker Jeff Ulbrich said he feels fortunate to land a coveted position on Pete Carroll's coaching staff with the Seattle Seahawks. Ulbrich confirmed ESPN's report that he accepted a position as assistant special teams coach.

Ulbrich spent his entire 10-year NFL career with the 49ers. He remained around the 49ers after he was placed on injured reserve last season after sustaining a serious concussion. Ulbrich said coach Mike Singletary expressed a desire to add him to the 49ers' staff, but there were no positions available.

Tommy Heffernan

Dave Reardon profiles UH strength coach Tommy Heffernan.
YEAH, HE'S a tough guy, and in good enough shape to command respect. But Heffernan has his fun side, too. If you were asked to name two sports he's most associated with, not everyone would answer football and baseball. How about slow-pitch softball and kickball?

If you were at a park league softball game in the 1990s and the third baseman was playing on the line in medium-deep left field, Tommy Heffernan was probably up. Anyone assigned to the hot corner who valued his teeth promptly vacated when "Tommy Heff" came to the plate.

UH to play Western Kentucky in 2012

Via haoleboi808 on SportsHawaii.com, looks like UH will close out the 2012 season with a home game against Western Kentucky.
Western Kentucky University has finalized a contract to play at Hawaii in football on December 1, 2012, Director of Athletics Dr. Wood Selig announced Friday. This will be WKU's last regular season game of the 2012 season and gives the Hilltoppers 13 regular season games, the most in program history. The game will be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, the same site as the 2009 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

"This is tremendous for our football program in many ways," Selig said. "It gives us an extra regular season game with the benefits of a post-season bowl game. We will play a well respected opponent in a stadium which hosts an annual bowl game, and it will be a great opportunity for our fans to support the Toppers while also enjoying all the benefits of the beautiful state of Hawaii. This will be the farthest we have ever traveled for a football game and marks another milestone in our program's continued development."
Western Kentucky is part of the Sun Belt Conference.

UPDATE: HawaiiAthletics.com has a press release.
“We’re pleased that Western Kentucky has filled one of the open slots for the 2012 schedule,” Donovan said. “I’m sure their coaches, players and fans are very excited for the opportunity to play an FBS opponent on the road to finish the regular season. Having already completed the 2010 and ’11 schedules and needing one more game for ’12 and ’13, we’re meeting one of our goals to have the football schedule complete several years out.”

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WitP: Pisa Tinoisamoa

Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune writes that Pisa Tinoisamoa will re-sign with the Bears, according to a league source.
The Bears entered last season talking about the benefits of their depth at linebacker and it was put to the test as six starting combinations were used.

The club is going to ensure some of that remains in place as a league source has indicated the Bears will re-sign veteran Pisa Tinoisamoa. No deal is in place, but the 28-year-old told the Tribune before the end of the season that he hoped to return.

...Or Not

The football team was told that because linebacker Brashton Satele had completed five years of eligibility and earned a degree in December, he would have to count as part of UH's 2010 recruiting class if he were to successfully petition for a sixth year of football.

Lee Ann Satele, like the rest of us, thought that was an odd rule. So she personally called the NCAA and was told that, no, her son would not count as one of the 25 initial scholarships. She then notified UH.
This is ridiculous, but I don't know who I'm supposed to be mad at! Just hope UH or the NCAA clears this up really soon.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Heffernan, Blaze, Recruit Review

UH strength coach Tommy Heffernan is today's guest on the Tsai & Wai Show, starting around noon.

The Star-Bulletin writes about Blaze Soares getting ready for the Texas vs. the Nation game on February 6th.
"I'm excited, it's a good opportunity to show the scouts what I can do," said Soares, also listed as the long snapper for The Nation. "I get one more game and I get to redeem myself from that last game we had at home (UH's season-ending loss to Wisconsin). It'll be exciting to put on the pads again."

Soares led the Warriors with 107 tackles as a senior and has been training at Triple Threat Performance in Tempe, Ariz., for the past three weeks to prepare for his shot at the pros. Soares said he's concentrating on his time in the 40-yard dash in preparation for UH's pro day prior to the NFL Draft.
On SportsHawaii.com, Na Koa's Don Weir posted some info about Coach McMackin’s 2010 Warrior Football Recruit Review, which is set for February 3rd. Coach Mack will discuss the 2010 signees and show video highlights of each recruit.
This year’s Recruit Review will be held at:
The Hukilau Restaurant
Executive Center
1088 Bishop Street Lower Level 13

Food and beverages will be available.
Happy Hour starts at 4:30 and runs until 7:30
No Cover Charge!
Video Review Program starts at 6:00 PM

Validated Parking is available: $1 for the first 3 hours
Plenty of downtown parking on a Wednesday evening!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Warriors in the Pros: Davone Bess

Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel catches up with Davone Bess, who talks about feeling disappointed about this season even though his production went up.
He led the Dolphins with 76 receptions for a team-high 758 yards, and two touchdowns. He was also the NFL's second most production receiver on third downs, bringing in 35 passes for 344 yard and scoring a touchdown on that critical down.

But Bess openly admits he played better in 2008, when he came out of nowhere as an undrafted rookie out of Hawaii, scraping and clawing his way to a starting role.

"It's funny. Even though my production went up, I kind of made a lot more mistakes this year with the fumbles and dropped passes here and there," Bess said. "I still have a long way to go."
Kelly has video of the interview:


Future Warrior: Kody Afusia

Dan Albano of OCVarsity.com profiles UH commit Kody Afusia.
The active and aggressive two-way lineman committed to his favorite school, Hawaii, during a memorable recruiting trip Jan. 16. The Warriors recruited him as a center.

Afusia’s visit included a luau, accommodations at a hotel on the beach, an on-campus reggae concert, a tour of Aloha Stadium and a chance to surf for the first time.

“I felt Hawaii is the place for me,” he said. “Just the people. ... And I love the environment. It feels like I’m at home. All the guys I met for a day are now my close friends. They all feel like my family.”

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Recruiting Strategy, Funny NCAA Rule, Etc.

Sorry for the trackback spam if this link is coming from General Sports Blog or one of their other sites. They steal content from other blogs and post spam. I hate them.
Stephen Tsai talks to Coach Greg McMackin about his recruiting strategy. Here are some excerpts from the Q&A:
"We counted up the tapes, and from the start of the year (in 2009), we were contacted by 3,000 guys. We also talked to every (Hawai'i) high school (football) coach to find out who they think are the top players in the state. It's quite a process. You have to go over every tape. You talk to coaches. You watch games. You watch more tapes. You have to find out if you think they'll meet the academic requirements (to play as freshmen). Then you have to rank them because you want to get the best players possible for the University of Hawai'i."
"I've never been a guy who goes on (scouting) Web sites, and tries to recruit players based on how many stars they have next to their names. We want to go out and see for ourselves, and watch videos, and make our own evaluations. We know there are some schools who went after players because they had four- or five-star ratings. And they didn't always play very well, because, maybe, a five-star has some problems in other areas. We're looking for great players with passion who make plays. It's important to have the basic measurables, but the biggest measurables are a player's heart and brain, and whether he can make plays.
But something that might throw a wrench in some of Mack's recruiting plans is a really stupid NCAA rule.
In a twist only the NCAA understands, middle linebacker Brashton Satele, who is appealing for an exemption to play as a sixth-year senior, must count as part of the 2010 recruiting class. He also will use one of the 25 initial scholarships the Warriors are allowed this year.


Well, as we have been told, Satele has exhausted his original scholarship because he completed his five years of eligibility and graduated in December. Assuming he is granted a sixth year, he would have to receive a new scholarship, which means he would count as a new recruit.

Once again: huh?
Huh? indeed! In the comments, Garret has a possible explanation:
I think that one factor is that the NCAA recently has been having several players use a loophole that allows a player who graduated from one school to play at another school right away without sitting out a year. There have been several examples of this recently, which some people have been calling a "loophole" that allows players to transfer schools and play right away.

So, since Brashton graduated he would actually be eligible to transfer and play for another school in 2010. When you take that into account, now I understand why he'd count towards the initial 25 scholarships...in the NCAA's eyes, he's a free agent (just like any high school kid) who is able to play for anybody next season.
And as others pointed, this rule is not exactly an incentive for someone to graduate on time.

Also from Garret, via SportsHawaii, is this little note about Gordy Shaw recruiting in Minnesota.
Gordy Shaw, the former Gophers football recruiting whiz, was in town scouting players for his University of Hawaii team recently when it was 12 below zero. Asked how Minnesota high school prospects react when he mentions Honolulu, he said, "Their eyes light up."
From Tuesday, Ferd Lewis writes about UH's potential travel plans for the road trip to Army (New York) and Colorado (altitude) after the USC home opener.
Plans call for UH to charter into Newark, N.J., for the West Point stop. But yet to be booked and perhaps most critical is the approach to the game with the Buffaloes in Boulder, Colo.

The options include staying in the New York area for a couple of days, flying into Denver immediately after the Army game or holding up somewhere else (Las Vegas?) and then swooping in on Boulder. Ruled out — for both reasons — has been a return to Honolulu in between.
And Dave Reardon pays tribute to Liz Chun, who is leaving her post as sports director for Hawaii News Now.

WitP: John Estes, Davone Bess

The Star-Bulletin has some quotes from John Estes about his experience playing in the East-West Shrine Game.
"I had a great week of practice, met some good people, made some friends," Estes said in a phone call to the Star-Bulletin. "It was a lot of fun, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The field was perfect. I feel good about how I did.

"No, I haven't received an invitation to the (NFL) combine, hoping that I will now. If not, that's fine. I'll be training for the Pro Day at Athletes Performance in L.A."
Estes also got another rave review, this one from Sports Illustrated.
John Estes/C/Hawaii: Estes could well be the big winner of Shrine week. He played with terrific fundamentals and strength from the first day of practice. Estes had no problem handling bigger opponents on the line and was flawless blocking on the move. Estes, who has not yet received an invitation to February's combine, elevated his draft stock at least one round.
The Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly posted a few pictures on his Twitter account of Davone Bess collecting donations for Haiti relief efforts on Saturday.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tommy Heffernan: Strength Coach

General Sports Blog sucks. Sorry for the trackback spam. Sorry for the disclaimer. I think I have to post that every time I link to the Warrior Beat. Anyway!
Congratulations to Tommy Heffernan, who is now the Warriors' lead strength coach.
Tommy Heffernan will be in charge of the offseason conditioning program for football, as well as serve as the Warriors' lead strength coach. As the strength coach, he was in charge of overseeing the athletic department's overall strength and conditioning programs.

"I like that Tommy is great with the players," UH head coach Greg McMackin said. "He's very organized, and detailed. He's very computer literate. He is always going to clinics and camps to improve his knowledge. He's an excellent teacher. He's a tireless worker. I'm really excited about having Tommy as our strength coach."

Mel deLaura, who had served as the Warriors' lead strength coach for 10 years, will remain on the UH weight-room staff. He will focus on working with the women's teams.
And a fond farewell to Liz Chun!
We're sorry to hear about Liz Chun's announced departure from Hawaii News Now.

Estes in the East-West Shrine Game

Be there!
University of Hawai‘i center John Estes will compete in The Asset Protect East-West Shrine Game Saturday at the Florida Citrus Bowl. The all-star game will be televised live on ESPN2 at 3:00 p.m. ET (10:00 a.m. HT).
Jason Kaneshiro talks to Estes about his good week of practice.
Estes said he had a solid day on Tuesday, though he was a bit disappointed in losing one of his one-on-one duels. He came back Wednesday to win his one-on-ones and felt solid in pass and run blocking.

"I've been concentrating on finishing my blocks and getting to the second level," Estes said.

"The practices are equal to or even more important than the game. All the scouts are there and it's full-pads, full-speed every snap. Everybody's fighting for their draft position, so it's going to get intense."
And in case you missed it, here's a compilation of some of the rave reviews Estes got at the Shrine game practices.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ryan Biesemeyer: Defensive Grad Assistant

HawaiiAthletics.com has the news:
University of Hawai‘i head football coach Greg McMackin announced the addition of Ryan Biesemeyer as the team’s graduate assistant. Biesemeyer spent one year as the program’s video coordinator before leaving for Texas Lutheran University to become an assistant coach.
At DSU, Biesemeyer worked with current UH defensive line coach Dave Aranda on Ron Roberts’ staff. In addition to serving as video coordinator, Biesemeyer worked with the defensive secondary. Prior to DSU, Biesemeyer spent two seasons as an assistant coach at California Lutheran University where he worked with the defensive backs and defensive line also with Aranda. In addition, he served as defensive quality control coach.
Congrats to Ryan!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

WitP: Reagan Mauia signs with Arizona

The Arizona Cardinals signed Reagan Mauia to a future contract.
The Cardinals signed five more players to “future” contracts (which just means they don’t officially kick in until the end of the season), including tight end Dominique Byrd — who actually was on the roster this season, inactive for the first 10 games before being released Nov. 24. The Cards are also bringing back fullback Reagan Maui’a, the “Juggernaut” (there’s a little language at the end of the video, FYI) who was with the team in the preseason, along with cornerback Trumaine McBride, safety Herana-Daze Jones and defensive lineman Dean Muhtadi.

Articles on UH Recruits

Greg Ladky of Yahoo Sports writes about Dustin Elisara and Tuu Lolohea committing to UH.
“I feel like staying home is good,” Lolohea said. “It is great to be able to play in front of my family and friends.”

“It is really exciting,” Elisara said. “It is good to come to a conclusion. It just felt right to commit to U-H. This is where we grew up. I grew up watching U-H. I just wanted to stay and play for Hawaii. My family is really happy about it. It would be hard if I went away to college for them to fly out and watch my games.”

Elisara said the Hawaii coaches were equally as happy.

“They were really surprised, I could just see how happy they were.”
Matt Szabo of the Huntington Beach Independent profiles recent commit Kody Afusia.
“I felt like they were all family,” Afusia said. “I’ve liked the school since I was 6, 7 years old. When I got there, I just felt like it was home. I liked the dorms and I loved the weight room. The campus is just nice in general.”

Afusia (6 feet 3, 295 pounds) played both offensive and defensive line for the Seahawks (4-6). He was named the Golden West League Defensive Player of the Year and was an All-CIF Southern Section Southern Division selection.

He said he will play center for the Warriors. He was also looking at Montana State and San Diego State, but Afusia’s dad, Lee, said he’s not surprised his son chose Hawaii.

“He’s been a University of Hawaii Warrior since he played Pop Warner,” Lee Afusia said. “He used to stay up to watch the TV broadcast late at night. We’re really proud to have him represent Ocean View.”
Afusia said the Hawaii coaching staff told him that if the offensive line position wasn’t working out for him, trying him at defense was also a possibility.
Jason Kaneshiro writes that recent commits John Hardy and Bubba Luna are cousins.
Hardy (6-foot-1, 165 pounds), who is interested in pursuing computer engineering in college, was named to the All-CIF Inland Division team. Playing primarily cornerback, he was also named to the Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise's All-Area team as a utility player after racking up 65 tackles and 10 interceptions.

Poueu-Luna also earned all-star honors playing quarterback at Great Oak High in Temecula, Calif., and has first-hand knowledge of Hardy's strengths in the secondary.

"He's a great corner," said Poueu-Luna, who also visited UH over the weekend and is expected to compete at slotback or wide receiver for Hawaii. "He plays with you. He's a really smart corner and he's physical, he's not afraid of contact. He got me a couple of times."
Dan Albano of OCVarsity.com writes that UH commit Dominick Sierra is taking a recruiting trip to Nevada.

And uh oh, looks like UH commit David Katina is receiving a lot of offers, though he's still leaning towards UH.
Katina says a number of colleges are lining up for him.

He is leaning more toward the University of Hawaii, led by Head Coach Greg McMackin.

“But we had some good offers from the University of Arizona, Oregon State, the University of Oregon, and the University of Tennessee,” Katina noted.

Walk-On Tryouts

Stephen Tsai has a report from yesterday's UH football walk-on tryouts.
Nearly 100 hopefuls yesterday auditioned for walk-on spots on the University of Hawai'i football team.

They came from far (Maine and South Korea) and near (two are UH student managers).

In the 40-yard dash, some ran with Division I-worthy speed; some had times that were area codes.
To avoid the appearance of favoritism, all of the walk-on candidates who were not on UH's 2009 roster were required to participate in the tryout. The list included Joey Cadiz, a running back who missed the past two UH seasons while recovering from knee surgery, and Ryan "The Beast" Eastman, a Saint Louis School alumnus who relinquished a Weber State scholarship.

"I want to be a Warrior and play as a Warrior," Eastman said. "I don't mind starting from the bottom. I like it better that way."
And Leila Wai has video:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WitP: John Estes (w/UPDATES)

Draftguys.com has reports from the East-West Shrine Game, including this mention of John Estes.
John Estes (Hawaii) totally owned Martin Tevaseu (DL - UNLV) a couple of times today. One time Tevaseu jumped off sides, then reset, then the ball was snapped. Estes simply put his hand on the back of Tevaseu’s helmet and pressed down, pinning the big defensive lineman on the ground. It was the biggest “oooh!” moment of the day.

CBSSports.com has another good report.
Hawaii center John Estes isn't a household name, lacks size and isn't outstanding in any one area. But the way he stood up and pushed back 6-1, 326-pound Stanford tackle Ekom Udofia and his ability to move his feet to help either guard on double-teams is exactly what teams like to see from a mid-to-late-round center prospect (think Green Bay Packers center Scott Wells).
And Stephen Tsai has a short note from Estes' agent.
Agent Kenny Zuckerman reports that John Estes is having "a really good week, really good" at the East-West Shrine Game practices.
UPDATE: Here's another report, this one from DraftInsider.net:
John Estes/C/Hawaii: Estes had a very god day. He’s technically sound and works his blocks hard. He’s not the biggest of lineman but the ability to get leverage on defenders and work his hands gave Estes a decided advantage. Wed Another sensational day. The most fundamentally sound lineman on the field. Handled bigger opponents all afternoon. On several snaps Estes did a terrific job getting out to the second level, blocking in motion and destroying linebackers.
UPDATE 2: Here's an evaluation of Estes from CBSSports.com:
C John Estes, Hawaii
Scouts were not surprised when the 6-2, 295-pound Estes had the shortest arm length (30.25 inches) among the offensive linemen. Whether it was getting his hands inside the jersey of UNLV nose tackle Martin Tevaseu or blocking down for one of his guards, the Rainbow Warrior simply went out and did his job on every play. Small but strong and technically sound centers can find a home in the NFL, so expect a team to pick up Estes somewhere in the late rounds.
UPDATE 3 (1/22/10): Thanks to Jase0517, who finds these reviews from ESPN Insider articles.

C John Estes, Hawaiʻi
Estes used his quick feet to get into position, delivered a strong punch and locked on so he could sustain his blocks during team period. We were also impressed with the range he showed, getting downfield to throw blocks on screens or runs.


High praise
Hawaiʻi C John Estes did an excellent job of resetting his hands and his feet during 1-on-1s. How good was it? So good that offensive line coach Ray Brown stopped and told the group that he loved Estes' hands.

WitP: McBriar Has Knee Surgery

Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News writes that punter Mat McBriar underwent arthroscopic knee surgery today.
Punter Mat McBriar had perhaps his finest season and he was doing so with a hurt right knee that required arthroscopic surgery Wednesday.

He is not expected to need a long recovery period.
Some great stats from the post:
While he did not earn a Pro Bowl bid, McBriar set a team record with 38 punts downed inside the opponents' 20, which was also third-best in the league this year and sixth in NFL history. Of his 72 punts, 38 were inside the 20 and he had only three touchbacks, while averaging 45.3 yards per punt. He had a career-high 39.9-yard net average, which would have been higher if not for a 79-yard return for a touchdown by New York's Domenik Hixon.

John Hardy-Tuliau Commits to UH

Stephen Tsai writes that Vista Murrieta cornerback and kick-blocking specialist John Hardy-Tuliau will become a Warrior.
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.
Tsai also has more about Kody Afusia.
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.
Congrats to John and Kody. Via SportsHawaii.com, here are a couple of John's highlight videos:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kody Afusia Commits to UH (w/UPDATES)

Dan Albano of OCVarsity.com writes that Ocean View offensive lineman Kody Afusia will become a Warrior.
Ocean View offensive lineman Kody Afusia (6-3, 295) has committed to Hawaii, his father, Lee, said in an e-mail. Afusia, the Golden West League defensive player of the year, was recruited to play center.

Afusia also received interest from Montana State and San Jose State.
Here's his junior year highlights:

And here's his profile on OCVarsity.com.
Favorite college or professional team: San Diego Chargers, Hawaii

Favorite movie, tv show or book: Step Brothers
UH fan and a Step Brothers fan? I like him already.

UPDATE: Stephen Tsai has more.
Center Kody Afusia of Ocean View High in Huntington Beach, Calif., told the Warrior Beat he has accepted a football scholaship from the Warriors.

"It feels like home," Afusia said of his recently completed recruiting trip to Hawaii. During the trip, he said, he met a relative who also is being recuited by the Warriors.
UPDATE 2 (1/20/10): Jason Kaneshiro profiles Afusia.
"It was awesome," said Lee Afusia, Kody's father. "(Hawaii) was his favorite college since he was growing up. We used to sit up late at night and watch when Timmy Chang was playing.

"Once we got there, along with the atmosphere, the coaches were just great."
Afusia also found out he was related to UH recruit Dave Lefotu on the trip.
"That was a little shocking," said Lefotu, who also took his official visit last weekend. "I didn't even know him and found out he's my cousin."

Lefotu said he remains solidly committed to UH after hearing from California, Oregon, Utah State and Wyoming.

WitP: Ryan Keomaka

Dave Reardon catches up with former UH defensive back Ryan Keomaka.
Former Roosevelt and Hawaii defensive back/special teams ace Ryan Keomaka is working as a Polynesian dancer at Disney World, but he’s making time to keep working out for pro football opportunities. He ran a 4.48 40 and a 3.8 shuttle, and did a 36 inch vertical leap and a 10-3 broad jump at a workout Saturday in Tampa for the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dustin Elisara and Tuu Lolohea Commit to UH (w/UPDATES)

Stephen Tsai writes that Kapolei linebackers Dustin Elisara and Tuu Lolohea will become Warriors.
Elisara, who is 6 feet 2 and 245 pounds, is Hawai‘i’s sixth-ranked prospect in the Scout.com ratings. He is projected to compete at middle linebacker for the Warriors.
Lolohea, who is 6 feet 2 and 240 pounds, will compete at outside linebacker.

By committing to UH, both players are canceling recruiting trips to Arkansas next week.

Elisara also is turning down offers from Oregon State, Arizona and Wyoming. Lolohea said he received offers from Idaho, Arizona and Colorado.
Sweeeet. Congrats to Dustin and Tuu!

Here are their 2009 highlights:

UPDATE: Jason Kaneshiro has more.
Kapolei head coach Darren Hernandez confirmed that Hurricane linebackers Dustin Elisara and Tuulauena Lolohea have committed to Hawaii following their visits this past weekend.
“They were impressed and wowed by UH,” Hernandez said. “I think they’ll be great Warriors.”
Elisara (6-foot-2, 252 pounds) led Kapolei with 89 tackles, including two sacks, and had two interceptions as the Hurricanes’ middle linebacker. Lolohea (6-2, 245) had 86 tackles with 11 sacks from his outside linebacker spot.
UPDATE 2 (1/19/10): Stephen Tsai interviews the players and their coach.
"Everything I want is in Hawai'i," Elisara said. "All of my friends and family are here. It would mean a lot for them to see me play at Aloha Stadium."

Lolohea said: "Staying at home is a big plus. I had a good time on my (recruiting) trip (the past weekend). I like the coaches. I like how they care about the local kids."
Elisara and Lolohea thought they would choose Mainland schools. But that changed this past weekend after going on an official UH recruiting trip.

Linebacker Art Laurel and defensive end Earvin Sione served as hosts.

"I had a really good time," Elisara said.

Lolohea said: "I liked that they didn't force anything on us. They answered our questions."

Hernandez said "both guys initially wanted to go away. But they were blown away by the UH coaching staff. ... They thought there was an opportunity (at UH). They're excited about that."
Kaneshiro profiles Lolohea and Elisara.
"It's going to be good fun playing with him," Lolohea said. "We talked about it and felt it was the best thing for the both of us."
"It takes a lot of weight off my shoulders. I made my decision and feel comfortable with it," Elisara said. "You can't beat staying home and having your family there and all the support from the local people."
Kaneshiro also has a quote from recent commit Darius Bright:
Receiver Darius Bright, a transfer from City College of San Francisco, also recently committed to UH. Bright (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) canceled a trip to Oklahoma last week so he could work on enrolling at UH for the spring semester. He consulted with his family in choosing the Warriors.

"I already knew the football was good, but they were talking to me about the academic side of it," said Bright, who is originally from North Carolina.

WitP: Estes, McBriar, Elam

CFN ranks John Estes as the 4th best center in this year's NFL Draft.

Mat McBriar has punted well in the playoffs.
Mat McBriar had two of his three punts downed inside the Minnesota 20, giving him 10 for his postseason career, which is the most in team playoff history. Ten of McBriar's 18 playoff punts have been downed inside the 20.
And Jason Elam was named one of the five best kickers of the decade by USA Today.
Elam began the decade kicking for the Denver Broncos, where he booted outside brilliantly for 15 seasons at Mile High, and was selected to the franchise's 50th anniversary team. The decade ended indoors in Atlanta where, at age 38 in 2008, Elam demonstrated his valued longevity. In Week 6, he kicked five field goals against the Chicago Bears (missing a sixth), tying a single-game career-best for attempts, conversions and points (16). The three-time Pro Bowler, a two-time Super Bowl champion, also shares the mark for longest field goal in league history (63 yards) with Tom Dempsey, set in 1998.

Friday, January 15, 2010

WitP: Jeff Ulbrich, Ryan Mouton

Scott J. Adams of Morgan Hill Times profiles the recently retired Jeff Ulbrich, who is actively searching for a coaching position.
While the 49ers have been in offseason mode the last two weeks, Ulbrich has been as busy as ever. His wife, Cristina, and kids Sammy, 8, Jax, 6, and Jace, 4, are aware his break from employment is just that: a break.

"A normal day is lots of phone calls," Ulbrich said Wednesday, still looking game-ready at 6-foot, 240 pounds. "I'm trying to find a coaching job; just reaching out to all the coaches I played under, players that I played with who are now coaching."

A short list of Ulbrich's list of contacts includes Jim Mora, Dennis Erickson, June Jones, Bryant Young and Jim Harbaugh. Ideally, Ulbrich will land a job that isn't far from his family's new house off of Watsonville Road in Gilroy.
You can buy a house in Hawaii too you know. I hear there's an opening for defensive grad assistant at UH. Just sayin.

And Ryan Mouton talks to the Nashville Scene about his rookie season with the Tennessee Titans.
"We got thrown into the fire early. We learned a lot, playing Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Now, we're just preparing for the next time we're thrown in there," he says.

Even the hurt of his role in the loss to the Jets is something Mouton has been able to put into perspective.

"Of course, it was tough in the Jets game. But guys here told me, 'You've got to put that behind you and get ready for the next play, really,' " he says. "I've learned a lot from that, and hey, hopefully, I can get another shot to return, because I still feel like I'm capable of doing that.

"I definitely grew up. It helped me grow up, when the pressure is on you like that, and the heat is on you. You have to grow from it. I've taken it for what it was and I moved on."
I might've posted this before, but you can follow Mouton on Twitter at @mrmouton_29

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

News and Notes

Here are some articles and links from the past couple of weeks.

The WAC has announced it's All-Decade Team. Warriors on the team include Colt Brennan, Davone Bess, Ashley Lelie, John Estes, Samson Satele, Travis LaBoy, Solomon Elimimian, Pisa Tinoisamoa and Mat McBriar.
Over the last few weeks, the WAC conducted an online vote for the All-Decade Football team. Over 1,500 fans participated and voted on players that had been on at least two all-WAC teams between 2000 and 2009.
I should probably visit WACSports.com more often because that's the first time I've heard of this poll. Mighty Mouse would've been on it!

Speaking of All-Decade teams, the Advertiser released their high school All-Decade team. Included on the list are current and former UH players Inoke Funaki, Miah Ostrowski, Samson Satele, Kealoha Pilares, Kaniela Tuipulotu and Blaze Soares.

Speaking of Blaze Soares, Stephen Tsai writes that he'll be playing in the Texas vs. the Nation game on February 6th.

Ferd Lewis looked ahead to the season opener against USC as well as the 2010 season in general.
With a little luck — and improved health — the path back to the postseason is laid out for the Warriors. Bottom line is win just a couple of their six road games and take even five of the seven home games and the Warriors are back in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl.

A realistic enough and necessary goal, it would seem. Of course, the 2009 schedule was no Murderer's Row, either and UH finished 6-7. The NCAA ranked that UH schedule 97th among 120 major college teams based upon opponents' records.
UH recruit Dominick Sierra was named the CIF Southwest Division Defensive Player of the Year.

Tim O'Leary of the Valley News profiled UH recruit Christian "Bubba" Luna.

Kevin Jakahi of the Hawaii-Tribune Herald profiled UH safety Mana Silva.
"Next season our secondary will be clicking," Silva said. "We won't be playing off what we read. We'll rely on instinct. All of our starters come back. The defense will be a lot faster.

"Next season, we'll not just react. It'll help us speed-wise. The game will be a lot slower for us next season."

But before thinking too far about UH's bright future, Silva revisited the pain of the past season.

"Several games I didn't start," he said. "It hit me hard mentally. I'm not used to not starting. I've always started. I hit rock bottom, but one of my coaches said, 'Keep a great attitude.' And I worked even harder. I got my job back.

"I got out of weight. I was playing closer to 220 pounds, instead of 200. I kept eating too much. I couldn't move as well. After I came back out of it, that made me a better person. I know I can fight through tough times."
Jim Donovan participated in his monthly First and 10 Q&A with the fans on SportsHawaii.com.

And I hear Rich Miano's Q&A on The Warrior Beat Show was pretty good, but unfortunately the replay is not working very well right now.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Darius Bright Commits to UH (w/UPDATE)

Stephen Tsai writes that City College of San Francisco receiver Darius Bright will become a Warrior.
Bright is 6 feet 5, 225 pounds and capable of running 40 yards in about 4.5 seconds.

He will enroll at UH this coming week, and participate in the offseason conditioning program and spring practice.

CCSF coach George Rush said Bright also was being recruited by Oklahoma.

Bright missed two games in 2009 because of migraines. In eight games, he caught 21 passes for 227 yards and four touchdowns.
Congrats to Darius!

UPDATE (1/11/10): Stephen Tsai profiles Bright.
After completing his 48-hour recruiting visit yesterday afternoon, Bright said, he notified the UH coaches that he would be accepting a scholarship from the Warriors.

"Hawai'i is a great location, with great coaches and great people," Bright said. "I felt like I was at home."

Bright, who is 6 feet 5 and 225 pounds, caught 21 passes for 227 yards and four TDs in eight games this season. Scouting services claim he is capable of running 40 yards in 4.5 seconds. Bright said he was clocked at 4.47 seconds during a combine in 2007.

CCSF head coach George Rush said Oklahoma was actively recruiting Bright through yesterday.

"I'm going to Hawai'i," Bright said. "I just feel good in Hawai'i. The offense is really good. They throw the ball a lot. I look forward to catching a lot of balls."

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Inoke Funaki: Grad Assistant

Congrats to Inoke.
University of Hawai‘i football head coach Greg McMackin announced former Warrior quarterback Inoke Funaki will serve as a graduate assistant during the 2010 season.

“Inoke is a perfect example of an outstanding student-athlete,” McMackin said. “He was a great player in our program and consistently earned a 4.0 grade point average. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree and I’m really excited the he’s joining our staff as a graduate assistant. He is a great example to our players both academically and athletically.”

Funaki, who recently completed his eligibility and earned his bachelor’s degree, is one of 30 student-athletes selected to attend the NCAA Football Coaches Academy in Orlando, Fla., this weekend.

David Katina on the World Team

UH recruit David Katina will be participating in the Team USA vs the World football game on January 30th.
Two local boys — Leone High School graduate Beck Coulter and Kanana Fou High School senior David Katina, both linebackers — have been named to World Team, the squad which will face Team USA at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Jan. 30 during NFL Pro Bowl Week.

In a statement from the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), it says World Team Head Coach Jan Jenmert named 43 players from eight countries and four continents to the World Team roster yesterday. World Team will face USA Football’s junior national team at Lockhart Stadium Jan. 30, the match set to be broadcast live by the NFL network.

American Samoa will be ratified as the 58th member of IFAF at the organization’s annual Congress in 2010, according to the IFAF.
Here's more info about the game from USAvWorld.com.

Here's a press release about it from AmericanSamoa.gov.

And according to the IFAF.org website, former UH recruit Jesse Williams will also be on the World team.
Anchoring the defensive line will be JESSE WILLIAMS, an indigenous Australian from Arizona Western College who first played down under for the Bayside Ravens and the Queensland Sun Devils State Team

"I look forward to the experience of playing in front of a much larger crowd than I'm used to and to show the world that indigenous Australians can play the game physically," said Williams.
I wonder if he'll still play for UH one day. He initially committed to UH back in 2007.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

WitP: RGM to the Dolphins (w/UPDATES)

According to the Advertiser, Ryan Grice-Mullen (Mullins) will sign with the Miami Dolphins.
Former University of Hawaii football player Ryan Grice-Mullins and the Miami Dolphins have reached agreement on a free-agent contract, according to people familiar with the situation.

Grice-Mullins will be reunited with Davone Bess, who led the Dolphins with 76 catches for 758 yards during the recently completed regular season.

Grice-Mullins and Bess were the Warriors' starting slotbacks in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Congrats to RGM(M)!

UPDATE: Dave Reardon talks to RGM about his impending move to Miami.
This may seem like a strange time for an NFL team to lock up a free agent for next season. But the Miami Dolphins apparently liked what they saw in Ryan Grice-Mullins at a workout two weeks ago so much that they moved quickly.

“It shows they really want me there,” the former UH slotback told me on the phone today. “I can’t sign until Jan. 4, but we have an agreement in place.”

RGM said he might work out in Hawaii in preparation for the first camp in March.

He said the success of former UH teammate Davone Bess helped open the door for him.

“Oh, yes, definitely,” he said. “After what Davone has done, that has not hurt at all. Everyone from Hawaii knew if he got his opportunity he would shine.

“Now I just need to do what I always do, train and work hard.”
And from 2007, here's a pic Chawan Cut created:

UPDATE (1/6/10): Jason Kaneshiro has more from RGM.
Bess led the Dolphins in receiving this season, and Grice-Mullen looks forward to his opportunity to join him in Miami.

"It's pretty cool," said Grice-Mullen, who played for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League this season. "It's great to have somebody who's like my brother there who can help me out and help in my transition with the team.

"I still have to earn my stripes," he added. "I'm really happy for him and he's definitely established himself with the Dolphins. But I have to earn my way, just like he did."

Sunday, January 03, 2010

WitP: Davone Bess 34-yard TD Reception

Beautiful back-of-the-endzone TD grab, from today's game against the Steelers. Unfortunately Miami lost. Bess ended the game with 5 catches for 85 yards.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

WitP: Veikune, McBriar, Mouton

The Cleveland Browns placed David Veikune on injured reserve today. Coach Eric Mangini had this to say about Veikune's progress this season.
(On what David Veikune has to do to get on the field next year)- “He’s made strides and I know it’s hard to see that because he hasn’t played very much. It’s a really difficult transition to go from where he came from and the position that he played to not just moving to linebacker, to moving to inside linebacker. At a position where you have to give the call in the huddle, then you have to break the huddle, then you are responsible for adjustments and you have to read what’s going on. There’s a lot going on there. He’s athletic. He’s strong. He’s willing. He’s got a good motor. Those things will serve him well. He’s got to continue to get stronger. I think the transition to pro football and not going through all the learning that happens your rookie season, and now just being able to concentrate on your job with help him a lot. Being in the offseason program where he can works on strengths and weaknesses and mature physically some more, that will help as well.”
Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News has a post about Mat McBriar.
Mat McBriar did not make the Pro Bowl, but he is having the best year of his career.

He does not have a huge average (44.9) or net average (39.9) but 37 of his 69 punts have been downed inside the 20 and he has had only two touchbacks this season. The 37 punts dropped inside the 20 are sixth-most in NFL history. McBriar's net average is at a career high and it would be better if not for a 79-yard return for a score by New York's Domenik Hixon.

This week he gets to prepare for DeSean Jackson, who is averaging 16 yards per punt return this year and has two touchdowns.
And Ryan Mouton is listed as questionable for tomorrow's game as he recovers from an ankle injury.

2009 Record

So long, 2009 schedule!

9/12@ Washington State (Qwest Field)W 38-20
9/19@ UNLVL 33-34
9/30@ Louisiana TechL 6-27
10/10FRESNO STATEL 17-42
10/17@ IdahoL 23-35
10/24BOISE STATEL 9-54
10/31@ NevadaL 21-31
11/7UTAH STATEW 49-36
W 24-6
11/21@ San Jose StateW 17-10 (OT)
11/28NAVYW 24-17
12/5WISCONSINL 10-51
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