Rate the class

February 6th, 2009

What do you folks think about the UH football recruiting class?I think the Warriors need to get more of the top local players. It’s tough to compete with BCS conferences and the allure of the mainland, but the coaches have to find a way to keep more of the great talent home. 

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  • dave katragadda February 7, 2009 at 12:15 am

    I think Phelps and Bolt are incredible but have yet to smoke a joint or run 100m in less than 10 seconds.

  • MauiSlugbug February 7, 2009 at 8:16 am

    UH will never be able to keep all of the top notch home grown talent, but I’m glad to see Coach Mack and his staff are making an effort to recruit these players. This effort was noticeably missing during the June Jones era.

  • wes February 7, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Dave, I thought the effort by the coaching staff was outstanding. Over the longer-term relationships established with local schools/coaches should pay big dividends. Result…considering the coaching change we appear to have had a “good” and maybe even our best thus far (but I guess only time and being tested will tell). 12 three star rated players per Rivals.com (noted below) in 2009 vs 7 in 2008 vs 8 in 2007 vs none in 2006 vs 3 in 2005 vs 2 in 2004 vs 4 in 2003, etc….and with the most in total numbers (over 30 players vs around 20 in prior years) kinda of tells it all! I was however a little disappointed regarding the 2 last minute defectors. Guess I’m too old fashion in that I perceive a verbal commitment as like a gentlemen’s hand shake! Regarding the offering of Toma and Vehikite, did we miss these guys?


  • kev-1 February 7, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I agree with MauiSlugbug. . . There’s really nothing Hawaii can do. The conference, the opptortunity to go away, the reputation, the look that mainland schools get that Hawaii doesn’t. . . Hawaii can’t compete. Especially for kids that age, they have an inner desire to be bigger than Hawaii, and I don’t blame them one bit. Let’s face it, opportunity in football knocks in the mainland. I do however think that Hawaii did a pretty darn good job this year in landing local talent. Hey its his first full recruiting season. . . it will only grow in my opinion.

    With all that said, if more prime local boys stay in Hawaii, maybe people will start paying more attention.

  • jabba February 7, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    This is the best class ever.

  • long rice February 7, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    ”UH will never be able to keep all of the top notch home grown talent, but I’m glad to see Coach Mack and his staff are making an effort to recruit these players. This effort was noticeably missing during the June Jones era.”

    2009 recruiting class represents hard work on part of Coaching Staff; a winning season this year only increae quality recruiting for years to come…..

  • WestSide Guy February 8, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I am very pleased with the recruiting calls UH got (as noted by “wes says”). I am even more pleased to see how aggressively the coaches recruited better caliber players even if they signed with other schools. But I am most pleased with the “way” the coaches recruited the players. I know a few recruits and they really liked how Coach Mac and his staff treated them like MEN. No high pressure sales tactics, just the honest truth. When some of the players decided to go elsewhere they were congratulated and wished the very best (even if they made a vrerbal commitment to UH). Recruiting with CLASS and treating someone with RESPECT makes this recruiting class the best. This is something we should ALL be proud of.

  • Bleeding Green February 8, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    AMEN to your comment, Dave! I’ve been hard on the coaching staff all year and I’m not going to let up on them. As you said, THEY have to find a way to keep them home. That’s what THEY get paid to do. To simply roll over and say, “That’s the way it’s always been and that’s the way it’ll be” is to let the coaching staff off the hook. Heck, I’d coach for UH if I thought I could simply blame my weak recruiting results on the idea that we can never expect it to be any other way. Mack, you may be trying hard do do better, but TRY HARDER (as you take your million dollar salary to the bank).

  • Linda February 8, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    This class is an excellent effort and end result. Congratulations to everyone who had a part in this year’s recruiting. The effort is far superior to the Jones era. But recruiting is not just the responsibility of the coaches and school. The fans play a very significant role — especially with the local recruits. When Hawaii fans decide to come out and support the team EVERY week — not just when we’re playing a high profile team — that will help raise the prestige perception referenced in the other replies. How many of the mainland recruits who attended the Cincinnati game spoke of the atmosphere and the fans? We need to support our team like that every week. Fans have to make up their minds. Maybe pay-per-view is less expensive and more convenient — but the players can’t hear you in your living room, lanai or sports bar. Help UH recruit locally by showing these impressionable young men that staying home doesn’t mean playing in front of empty seats or crowds that only get worked up over “name” opponents. And by fans — that also includes UH students — imagine an entire section of Manoa Maniacs. As fans, let’s do our part in creating a special atmostphere at Aloha Statdium. That could ultimately be the most influential recruiting incentive of all.

  • sjalmn February 8, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    never be able to compete for “most” of top student-athletes in Hawaii, BCS schools and exposure at these schools, especially the Pac 10, Big 12. Television, specific educational opportunities, chance to venture out on their own, big time bowl games-national championship opportunities.

  • sjalmn February 8, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    This year’s recruiting class should be judged several years plus down the road, many recruiting classes are very “hyped” by coaches, recruiting services and others.

  • haa haa February 8, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    with the closing of the hula and pro bowls. we need to support the high school all-star games like the hub and polynesia/mainland bowls. we also need markee teams like notre dame in the sheraton hawaii bowl.
    as to the recruits this year for the warriors, i agree with the previous comments.

  • jabba February 8, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Now let’s see who Mack brings in to help coach the oline. I hope the rumors of an ex-uh asst coach is not true. I don’t see him contributing at all since he was the one that left us with all the pukas.

  • ynut February 9, 2009 at 6:54 am

    Hawaii did better than U-dub here in Seattle. They managed to recruit “2″ from Washington. But they’re in a conference that is tough and Hawaii needs to get out of the WAC and get into the Mountain West or PAC-10. Yeah, it’s costly to be in a top notch conference, yeah they’ll get hammered a couple of times but it’ll give the local talent a reason to stay home and compete with the big boys.

    I’d love to see local talent smack mainland everytime. I live in Seattle and have heard “local” boys from Hawaii have what it takes to play at the next level. So, UH, make plans to get out of the WAC before the WAC is shoved into the trash heap. Tough economic times require tough decisions. I believe June would have stayed if Herman had the vision to put UH in the PAC-10 along with Boise St. or Fresno State. What a concept, PAC-12, six north, six south. Hawaii, Boise St., Washington and Oregon schools in the north and the four California schools and Arizona schools in the south would be a good start!

  • hotwheels February 9, 2009 at 8:45 am

    i think the sugar bowl appearance has alot to do with better recruits considering the school.

  • Macadangdangshoyutbillygoatdinggalagalabutbut February 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    I think the lack of recruiting efforts from 2004 to 2006 hurt us. I think we were able to get a decent class in 2007 because of the success from the 2006 season. Although, some of the players from that class have since transferred i.e. LeMarcus Gibson, Korey Reynolds, Kevin Konrath.

  • Windward February 9, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Common Dave, even SC didn’t keep all of the local guys they were after and even the vaunted Florida program lost out on guys. But aside from Teo and Hasiak I really don’t see how losing the other guys hurt the Warriors. Keliikipi, Vehikite, Toma, Rosa, and Makaula are nice players but hardly the type that can’t be replaced by players from the mainland. Teo and Hasiak are the franchise types we would not be able to lure from the mainland but losing those types has always been a problem no matter who the coach is. A bigger problem is losing guys like Isaiah Iuta to grades and test scores. THe guys who don’t qualify and want to be Warriors hurt more because the problem is preventable with proper guidence.

  • Wayne O. February 9, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    It’s hard to get a read on how good the recruiting class is. Every team feels they have a good class. I think Hawaii got good players from Hawaii and Lopati is probably the best.
    I was hoping they would get Hasiak, but I guess he wanted to go away. We need good offensive and defensive lineman. I’m not sold on this coming season’s offense and defensive line. Too many holding penalties and too many sacks given up. Maybe the coaches are not doing a good job also. You never know. All I know is that this coming year that we have to do a lot better job if we want to get better. Too many questions.
    A kicker, a punter, a QB, a running back, offensive line, defensive line, defensive backs, etc. etc. etc. The only positions that I’m confortable with is receivers and linebackers.
    I think Falemalu will be big time. And I hope Blaze Soares will be healthy this year. But as I said, too many ifs. Also, the play calling sucks.

  • kev-1 February 9, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Good point Windward. And Linda, I agree with the fans needing to get in the stands. However, even though student tickets are cheap, they are the crappiest seats in the house. Your in the endzone, beneath the jumbo tron and have to turn around and krink your neck just to see a replay because you are so far from the action.

  • wayoutwest February 10, 2009 at 8:39 am

    for those who who say hawaii can’t keep the top local talent home, see the c/o 2000.

    chang, moenoa, curnan, l peters, ala, welch, komine, ayat, kauffman, fiaseu, ho’ohuli, kahale… almost a 100% success rate.

    only guys who got away were latuselu (who eventually transferred back to UH) and fraser to arizona. otherwise a clean sweep.

  • NelsonO February 10, 2009 at 9:19 am

    It’s too early to judge this year’s recruiting class.

    But the thing I like about Signing Day is that all of your recruits look good.

    Of course, we would like to keep our top local prospects. But I wouldn’t mind getting top prospects from places like California, Texas or Florida.

  • roysan16 February 10, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Accentuate the positives, but no the columnist wants to write and say we…… “need to keep the local talent home”. It’s almost like inferring that the local recruits we got this year are a bunch of slugs. And that’s the furthest from the truth. The kids recruited in the last couple of years are going to be great. I think so. The UH coaches think so. And a lot of fans think so.

    The UH football program and the recruitment class, presently, has a nice wind at it’s back. And things are sailing along, nicely.

    In regards to recruiting and looking off in the horizon, or future, the UH football program made huge advances with this class.

    Here’s a list of local high school recruits that are coming to the Warriors.
    Check the other schools, mostly PAC-10, that UH competed with in recruitment.
    How I see it, UH did a creditable job. As another poster mentioned, the super athlete, or anomaly, has a mind of his own, that he deservingly wants to play on the biggest stage. This shouldn’t be a slight on UH. Or, further, induce a columnist into saying that “we need to get more of the top local players.” Patience. Patience. Patience.

    Stutzmann (Washington State,Washington,Oregon State, Michigan State, Colorado)
    Ma’afala (California, Washington)
    Shutter (New Mexico)
    Brackenridge (Idaho, Wyoming)
    Aulola Tonga (UCLA, BYU)
    Lopati (Washington, Oregon State, Oregon, Colorado, California, Baylor)

    There’s a cache of high school talent in the islands.

    And we’re seeing that the speed and quickness clinics, combines, camps are all tools for the kids to get better . And the UH coach’s interests in the kids, the kid’s interest in the UH and the UH coaches fostering bonds with recruit’s parents, community and the high school coaches are the impetus that will quickly see more of the local kids gravitating to UH.

    The residual of all this interests as a result is so beneficial to the kids. For all of all this motivation (camps, combines,etc) and mentoring (speeches telling the kids to do their school work) by the UH coaches is making the kids opening their eyes and evoking their interests in football. And this is the very important first step in recruitment. Coach Mack sees the picture.

  • Dave Reardon February 11, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    <p>I’m not “inferring” that anyone is a “bunch of slugs.” Not “inferring” anything. Not even “implying” it, which is what I think you’re trying to say. (Look up the meanings of the words). Every recruiting class always looks great to fans, and coaches always say they are … every year. You seem to be saying it’s OK that the top guys go away. Do you think Florida, Texas and other top schools have that attitude? Also, isn’t it insulting to the UH staff to imply they should not bother with the cream of the local crop?</p>

  • ynut February 12, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Again I say Hawaii did a great job with keeping the island boys they have. Those that chose to leave, God bless them. Those that chose to stay will now be able to perform on a larger stage than say, Wong stadium in Hilo or any local footbal field. These young men, all of them, are to be commended. They got to where they are because they made the sacrifice to push, lift, and gut it out when others gave up. They are being recognized for their efforts and hopefully the potential seen in them. Let’s, us fans, begin to help the coaching staff by being and encouragement to the ones who stayed. We can’t do anything about the one’s that left but we can help those who stay behind and say YOU’RE THE BEST HAWAII HAS because they are! Better is objective and I believe our boys have the heart to be the best. They now need our support and tell them they can and will be better. Coaches, your job is to coach, young men, the coaches own your behind and pay attention now or you’ll pay for it in the end! Struggle now for greater rewards down the road. Continue to recruit Hawaii’s best and NO GIVE UP! Congratulations to Coach Mac and the gang. NO GIVE UP on Hawaii’s best. Go Bows!

  • Michael in Kona February 12, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    When J.J. was here, some mainland receivers and QBs contacted UH for the opportunity to play because of the unique Run ‘n Shoot system. Now, J.J. is gone. I did not sense that elite mainland players were knocking on the door. Whether the recruiting class as a whole is a good class or a bad class will be answered in 2-3 years. Hawaii football team is still playing with a bunch of guys that J.J. recruited. We will know how good a recruiter Coach Mack is in 2-3 years. Pro drafts have busts and steal of a deal. The college recruiting is the same. It is not an exact science. I just hope that Rival’s two star guys at UH will surprise a lot of people.

  • Three Keys February 12, 2009 at 5:34 pm


    I agree w/ your mantra that UH should work hard to get our best local recruits. I also understand when local players want to go away too for the experience, bigger “stage,” etc. However, what happened to last year’s “gray shirt,” Christian Vasconcellos? I heard he will be going to a California junior college and didn’t get offered a scholarship. This doesn’t seem to send the right message? Was there another part of the story? Also, what happened to the Noa kid from Kaiser who was also a gray shirt? Finally, Eddie Williams, who was an offensive lineman at Damien (Class of 06) was a gray shirt his first year and then went the JC route the past 2 years. He just signed w/ UCLA. Didn’t UH recruit him?

  • Nani February 13, 2009 at 8:01 am

    What’s with the sour grapes Dave? Why wouldn’t a top player that was recruited by the top schools in the nation stay home? We all know that the longevity of a football career is short, but an education will last forever. Dave, put yourself in Teo’s shoes. If Notre Dame offered you a scholorship, would you turn them down and stay home? Be honest please. I am not knocking UH because I went there and proud of it but if Stanford, UCLA or Notre Dame offered me a free ride to obtain that sheepskin I would have selected them instead. Wouldn’t you?

    Remember back in the 80′s when the UH basketball team was suspended for recruiting violations? I do not want the school to go down that route again in order to compete with the mainland schools so just be happy with this excellent class.

    Now, if a very good local recruit selected a school, e.g. Idaho, Utah State, etc. over UH than there is something seriously wrong with our program.

  • Big Apple February 14, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    I am a newcommer to the local sports scene originally from New York, and I would like to offer a different perspective hopefully without offending anyone. From what I have seen the local players have as much talent, heart , and desire as anyone on the mainland. Unfortunately, there are two things that you cannot teach even the most athletic player, size and speed!!!! You need only take a look at the Sugar Bowl, and Florida games to that UH can’t matchup physically with these teams no matter how many local stars stay home.

    Obviously, there is no easy solution, but on the other hand you need look no further than the UH Womens Volleyball team. They are ranked at the top of their sport year after year, why, they recruit the best talent from all corners and have built a reputation so that now players want to come here!!! I say, INCREASE THE RECRUITING BUDET and try to lure mainland players here the same way our players are lured away. But you have to target players that might have been passed up by the BCS schools but are still talented enough to start here.

    This was the philosophy that June Jones used to perfection and it resulted in an undefeated season. Places like California, Florida, Texas, Viginia, New Jersey and yes New York, there are a lot of players that don’t stay in their home state for lots of reasons. I don’t see any reason why someone from the East Coast would’nt want to come here with the opportunity to start and all the benefits Hawaii has to offer. It is a resource of talent that has been untapped, by combining this with local talent we will be right back where we were when Coach Jones left. Let’s not forget Colt Brennan and Davon Bess were not local either.

  • vakeleo February 14, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    UH has only begun putting things into place to where we will be able to put up a good fight for our best local highschool football players. But the coaches are the key to recruiting. I hear they are looking for a new Oline coach. I hope they find one soon. Like I said, the coach is the key.

  • andrew February 15, 2009 at 3:16 pm


    any word on which/when coaches/prospects will fill the voids?

  • Manoa February 17, 2009 at 8:19 am

    The coaching staff did a fantastic job– spending more money than ever also, to build the lifeblood of the program. They need to keep this up.

    They made a terrific effort locally, but the results are not much different than they have been. We got two or three of the top 10 or so recruits going by the outside ratings services (Lopati, Schutter, and Stutzman). The class of 2000 still remains the benchmark. However, I believe it is the local guys the next level down– the under the radar guys we need to get and we are getting those players.

    We have to recruit the mainland to get the skill and athleticism we need– this means the JC’s– where we rarely go head to head with BCS schools– and we are the best in the WAC and maybe other non-BCS conferences in our JC recruiting.

  • Coach Lloyd February 17, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Dave, agree with you that UH should continue to try to recruit the best local players available. However, I don’t think our local talent pool is very deep and this creates a talent problem for UH. When I look back at my own Football career I see that I was not prepared properly to play at the next level. This despite playing for Kamehameha in the 70′s where we dominated and were Prep Bowl Champs three times in a row. The reality for many local players was not to dream of a college or pro football career but just to improve on what their father did. My dad was a painter and no matter what I did, as long as I aspired to do something greater than a painter that made my Dad happy. I think a lot of the kids suffer from the same problem I did, and some even worse. I know two brothers where one quit school at 5th grade, the other at 9th grade. I just found that out last week and I was flabbergasted. I’ve recently begun helping high school football athletes develop skill levels. The training is free, totally invaluable, and simply not otherwise available. We cover basic skills such as kick returning, pattern running and pass catching, strength development, mental focusing, and other valuable basic skills. I expect my efforts to bear fruit next season. We need more athletes to take responsibility for their athletic development. And it simply is not enough to “have intestinal fortitude”. Once athletic skills development training becomes the norm, then we will see a deeper pool of talent come out of Hawaii. And yes, we will still lose some or most, however, there will still be some who stay here and they WILL produce because they will have been groomed for success. Here in Hawaii the opportunities and level of preparation for our average football athlete is about 10 to 15 years behind the mainland counterpart. For example, I was working at the University of Michigan in the 80′s. I happened to drive by a football camp with approximately 350 high school athletes. I was blown away. By comparison, Camps here in Hawaii have only recently sprung up. In the 80′s there was nothing like that here. It can and will happen for Hawaii athletes but we’ll need some time for training and also people in the know must step forward and take some action.

  • kulafan February 18, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Big Apple you are right about you being new here. Money a recources play a big part of the recruiting budget. East coast athletes are not on the radar for that purpose. Doris Sullivan says it best about recruits when she says that Hawaii cannot give scholarships to every athlete in Hawaii. But the ultimate goal is to get Hawaii kids get a free education through athletic scholarship wherever they can. Thats the bottom line.

  • Oscar February 18, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Unless Hawaii starts to “beautify” their facilities, build an indoor practice field, weight room, and a new stadium. In other words we gotta spoil them just like other school does. Yes its a lot of money but we all know that it will result to better recruits and better chance of playing with the top dogs or better chance of playing for another BCS and actually winning it. At the end it will pay off, don’t forget other than the sport it self its all about the money!!!

    Also it would be great to give those local prospect free tickets to every home game…

  • Carlo February 18, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    I think that offense needs a new twist to help them against larger teams, for short yardage situations and with clock management. The NFL has a number of teams using 3 and 4 tightends in run & shoot alignments with good effect. It keeps the defenses guessing on short yardage plays. Tightends as slot backs would add to their overall team weight giving them more short yardage options. There are a lot of kids coming out of HS that are too small to play TE at most D1 programs. Their ability to block and good hands would fit in with the run & shoot. In addition, I felt the O was more effective when they used large backs. I don’t understand why they didn’t recruit large backs to keep the DE’s from teeing off on the QB.

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