The best offensive lineman from the best junior college team in California will join the University of Hawaii football team.
Emil Graves of Fullerton College said he will sign with the Rainbow Warriors on Feb. 1, the first day recruits may put their commitments in writing. He will earn an associate’s degree in May, a requirement to transferring, and will enroll at UH in June. He will have three years to play two UH seasons.
Graves, who visited Hawaii last month, said he based his decision on “the overall atmosphere. … I feel that the bond the players you don’t get anywhere else. You get the family feel. Everyone is committed, and buying into the program. That’s something I want to be a part of.”
Graves played right tackle in 2015 and in the first three games this season. When the left guard suffered an injury, the right guard moved to the left side and Graves started at right guard the remainder of the season. Graves also was used at center. He projects to compete at center or guard at UH.
Fullerton won the California Community College Athletic Association’s title, which is regarded as a national championship.
Fullerton associate head coach Phil Austin, a former UH defensive back, said Graves “will win the award for best lineman on our team.” Graves was named to the All-California Region IV first team.
“He’ll be a good get,” Austin said. “He’s somebody you can plug into a position you need. … He’s a leader on the team. Emil hangs out in my office all lunch. He eats lunch with us. He’s like one of the coaching staff. He’s a great kid. Everyone loves him. I’m proud to have him as one of the Warriors.”