POSTED: 7:38 a.m. HST, Feb 1, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 11:04 a.m. HST, Feb 1, 2012
The University of Hawaii received three big football signings this morning — one at Kahuku High School and two at the annual Pacific Islands Athletic Alliance national letter of intent ceremonies at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.
Today is the first day that high school recruits could sign binding national letters of intents with colleges.
Punahou School running back Steven Lakalaka and Kamehameha Schools offensive lineman Kiha Sai signed with the Warriors after earlier committing to other schools. Kahuku linebacker Benneton Fonua signed at the school.
Lakalaka had previously committed to UCLA and Sai had announced for Utah.
However, another potential signee, Kamehameha safety Taylor Taliulu, reversed field for the second time in three days. Taliulu showed up dressed in a maroon Washington State polo shirt and signed with his original choice — the Cougars of the Pac-12.
Other notable football players who were on the bubble also made their decisions official. Punahou placekicker Kaimi Fairbairn, who was rumored to be leaning toward Cal, signed with UCLA. He had wavered after the school fired the previous coaching staff a month ago.
Kamehameha tight end Keoni Bush-Loo settled on Arizona after leaning toward Nebraska early on.
Punahou defensive end DeForest Buckner, the Star-Advertiser's No. 1 recruit, sported a bright, cheery yellow and green Oregon Ducks hat.
Luke Kaumatule, a Punahou defensive end and the No. 2 recruit in the state, signed with Stanford.
Another top recruit, Shane Brostek, reportedly committed to Washington, according to the Eugene Register-Guard. Brostek is the son of Bern, a Washington alum who played in the NFL for the Rams.
At Kahuku early today, Benneton Fonua, the Star-Advertiser's All-State defensive player of the year signed with Hawaii, while Mikeli Fiso signed with Western Oregon.
"I couldn't sleep, I prayed all night and when I saw my mom in the morning, I told her, 'I am staying home.' She was so happy," Fonua said.
"Norm Chow made a big difference," he added. "Even last night I wasn't sure what I was going to do, but this is my chance to make a difference and I want to play for the state, play for Hawaii and play for my family. I believe that. Without these people here, I wouldn't be here. My main goal right now is to come back to Kahuku and give back to future generations so they can have opportunities like I have."
Athletes who signed letters today at Sheraton Waikiki:
Kalei Auelua, Saint Louis, Washington
DeForest Buckner, Punahou, Oregon
Keoni Bush-Loo, Kamehameha, Arizona
Micah Pono Choy, Kamehameha, Eastern Illinois
Gary Copeland, Moanalua, Redlands
Kaimi Fairbairn, Punahou, UCLA
Kyle Fleming, Waimea, Army
Calen Kamuela Grugier-Hill, Kamehameha, Eastern Illinois
Siaosi Hala'api'api, Kaimuki, Wyoming
Jacob Ioane, Punahou, Univ. San Diego
Luke Kaumatule, Punahou, Stanford
Pono Keni, Saint Louis, University of San Diego
Steven Lakalaka, Punahou, UH
Leland Mitchell, Farrington, Chabot
David Monroe, Punahou, University of San Diego
Brock Namuo, Kealakehe, Western Oregon
Kory Rasmussen, Kamehameha, Colorado
Kiha Sai, Kamehameha, UH
Leni Sekona, Punahou, Iowa Wesleyan
Russell Siavii, Leilehua, Idaho
Matthew Sparks, Punahou, Massachusettes
Taylor Taliulu, Kamehameha, Washington State
Dillon Turk, Moanalua, Trinity International
Psalm Wooching, Kealakehe, Washington
Ashley Asuncion, Kamehameha, Arkansas-Little Rock
Vanessa Cabilan, Kamhameha, Idaho State
Kristen Fujinaga, Mililani, Cal Baptist
Kalena Kaeo, Kamehameha-Maui, Texas-San Antonio
Amanda McCaskill, Iolani, UH
Tiana Miyashiro, Kaiser, Holy Names
Carly Kauwela Neal, Kamehameha, UT-San Antonio
Ashley Pundyke, Kamehameha-Maui, Western Oregon
Lauren Stollar, Punahou, Drexel
Lauren Uehara, Mililani, Cal Baptist
Aaron Goo, Saint Louis, UNLV
Alika McGuire, Kamehameha, Howard JC