Wednesday, July 30, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 32 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Lakalaka, Sai, Fonua officially commit to Warriors

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 11:04 a.m. HST, Feb 01, 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

 Print   Email   Comment | View 32 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
Oahuan wrote:
Brostek didn't sign yet?
on February 1,2012 | 06:45AM
Oahuan wrote:
Oh and Tuliulu can kiss my.....
on February 1,2012 | 06:46AM
kapoleidude1 wrote:
leave the kid alone...thats his choice...not yours!! How would u feel if you was in his shoes? Let these kids make their own choices...if he picks UH great....if not...still we wish him and the others the best of luck. They are headed to good schools to get educated.....you should be happy that these kids are getting opportunities...and not be a prick about him not sigining with us...whats wrong with you!!
on February 1,2012 | 07:10AM
bucky4791 wrote:
U got it Kapoleidude1! Congrat's to all the boys, what a day. Such a huge decision. Always sad to see Hawaii's talent leave the Islands. More importantly, we should be celebrating the opportunity all these athletes have earned. They have the talent to be recruited and the brains to take advantage of it. (Student Athletes) All our Ohana supports your decisions Taylor, Keoni, Cory, Pono, Kiha, You will all represent your families, your school and the Islands well. NO doubt about it. IMUA! Good luck to all the boys. Looking forward to watching you on TV next season. P.S. To bad "Babooz" couldn't even spell Taylors name correctly! Auwe!
on February 1,2012 | 02:10PM
Eradication wrote:
I think it was a very mature and probably difficult decision. Your choice of words and thinking is obviously very immature.
on February 1,2012 | 06:19PM
BigOpu wrote:
I hate it when media makes a big deal on commitments before signing day. A big let down on UH commits that go away on the last day. Never the less, congrats to all the parents and coaches of these talented kids. All the time that you put into them paid off. For those who committed and signed with UH...your integrity is to be admired.
on February 1,2012 | 07:29AM
hilosupaman wrote:
don't be so harsh on the yourn man some people just want to get away... besides... who know he could end up right back here!
on February 1,2012 | 07:30AM
BigOpu wrote:
Agree. We get selfish, but it's only because we want the best for the home team. Still, can't blame a kid for wanting to explore...for a small fee on top of that.
on February 1,2012 | 07:51AM
pake48 wrote:
These guys don't know how it is on the mainland, and with no family, no aloha, no nothing. And when they see how well UH is doing and they beg to come back, Coach Chow will tell them, "thanks but no thanks", no scholarships available.
on February 1,2012 | 07:33AM
motoxdad wrote:
spoken like a true PAKE
on February 1,2012 | 04:36PM
pake48 wrote:
These guys don't know how it is on the mainland, and with no family, no aloha, no nothing. And when they see how well UH is doing and they beg to come back, Coach Chow will tell them, "thanks but no thanks", no scholarships available.
on February 1,2012 | 07:33AM
jimbone wrote:
I second that. Well, At least they may get a chance to walk-on. But now you gotta pay your own way.. Win-win situation, you get to play at home( in front of family and friends ) And UH making money off you paying tuition.
on February 1,2012 | 12:33PM
motoxdad wrote:
It's funny when people like you think they know whats best for these kids,kids you have never met for that matter.It shows how narrow minded you are, what do you know about these kids that are leaving? i'll put money on it and say nothing, for alot of these kids football is just a tool to get a higher education, something (judging by your comment) you don't have.
on February 1,2012 | 05:05PM
Eradication wrote:
Well said, spot on!!!
on February 1,2012 | 06:22PM
Bumby wrote:
Coaches needs to be salesmen when convincing a teenager to attend the college they are coaching. We all know there are a lot of ways that people sell things. Sometimes the hype, the pressure, the closing of the deal at the moment, makes it difficult for a young person to say no in the face of that coach. If one has waivered and may have said things in public and not the end result people wanted, disappointment is understandable. I am sure many of you were sold on something by someone and had a change of heart later. I myself has many times bought things due to the presentation of the salesperson and after going home decided otherwise and returned or cancelled the product and or service. If you had never changed your mind after a sales presentation my hats off to you for being a person of your word and my apologies in advance to those making such negative comments of a youngs person's decision, that will have a profound affect in their jouney of life.
on February 1,2012 | 08:01AM
Dragonman wrote:
You have to follow your heart and if it takes you to mainland so be it. A big welcome to all the athletes that decided to play for the UH Warriors and good luck to those who are leaving the islands, college is a wonderful experience and I wish you all well.
on February 1,2012 | 08:39AM
juscasting wrote:
So much hate? Jus wish our boys and girls the best of LUCK....College is more than just playing ball; it's part athletics, education and the experience of exploring other cultures and meeting new people outside of this rock. Good luck to all!
on February 1,2012 | 09:07AM
Anonymous wrote:
the college prospects have the right to attend any school of their choosing. good luck to them. what's refreshing is that after years of being an afterthought, UH is now in the mix for our top athletes. chow and his staff's efforts will only help for next year's recruits.
on February 1,2012 | 09:36AM
alohachef wrote:
Congratulations and best wishes to Benneton Fonua. Although, I do not know him personally, I have had the privilege to coach with his grandfather, John Farley, and know his grandmother Pinky. From all accounts he is a young man who is passionate not only about football and education, but passionate about representing his family, community, and state. His grandfather always told the team in the locker room before games that to be successful in football and life one must know who you are, where you come from, and where you're going. It seems that Benny has these beliefs and values as well. His grandfather, in his mid-40's, made a decision to go back and get a bachelor's degree from BYU-Hawaii. Then moved his family to Provo so he could finish his masters and fulfill his desire to coach on the next level and be a strength coach. He achieved that at BYU-Provo before his passing. Benny is going to perpetuate that legacy. "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." Like many great athletes that have graduated from Kahuku, has success in college, and returned to coach at their alma mater, Benny is focused to do the same. That is truly honorable and describes a true Red Raider for Life. Even though it might sound like just another motto or cliche, it is what is in the hearts of many true Red Raider graduates. They might return as coaches in high school or in the youth leagues. But many return to their roots and communities and give back in many more ways as principles, administrators, counselors, teachers, ministers, priests, bishops, and elders. Also as doctors, nurses, bankers, tellers, and business owners and managers. Others as policemen & police women, detectives, firemen & firewomen, state and county workers, laborers, etc. That's what makes this community from Pupukea through Kualoa proud. Benny, here's wishing you all the best as you move on as a Warrior. Keep focused, you know who you are, where you come from, and where your going. Aloha.
on February 1,2012 | 09:37AM
Sully77 wrote:
yes good luck to all our boys & gals going away, or staying home. wish you all the best & your ohanas!! congrats! to parents & coaches, and please don't forget to get your educations along the way as well.
on February 1,2012 | 09:43AM
BTO wrote:
Awesome job everyone. Study hard, practice hard. To those that were not given scholarships, if you still have the dream of playing collegiately, practice hard over the summer, train with the specialist that make you a better athlete and walk on where ever you are going to school. Rich Miano, was a walk on. Cam Newton went to a Junior College, Mana Silva transferred back to UH after his initial assignment did not work out, Kolten Wong stayed home, Colt Brennan resurrected his career after stumbling. Hawaii athletes have heart, but they have to perform twice as hard on the mainland because they don't usually pass the eye test. We are proud of you all - malama pono!!
on February 1,2012 | 09:59AM
Hodad wrote:
Cam Newton went to JUCO because he was kicked out of Florida for stealling laptops.
on February 1,2012 | 11:22AM
BTO wrote:
congratulations to all and to those who did not earn scholarships, work with a specialist and become a better athlete over the summer and walk on. Rich Miano was a walk on. Colt Brennan was given a second chance at UH, Mana Silva transferred back to UH, Cam Newton went to a JUCO. To those going to the mainland, you have to work twice as hard - especially sports outside of football, because you are against stereotyping and not passing the eyetest. All who participate at the collegiate level are all winners regardless of your playing time, we congratulate you for representing Hawaii, wear it well on your sleeve. Malama Pono
on February 1,2012 | 10:06AM
Anonymous wrote:
Can't be slamming these kids for making decisions to play out of state. One should look at not only the football program but for what the school has to offer with regards to an EDUCATION. Football is the vehicle to the education, that's all it is. Many of the recruits may never make it to the Big Show at the end of their playing days and all they'll have left is the memories, but still will be armed with that degree. The opportunity to meet and be exposed to big time programs will offer these kids a network that they would probably never attain here. Heck, when you play for the Oregon Ducks, Stanford Cardinals and the like, the people who finance those programs may be someone that can get you a job down the road. My college roommate when we traveled eventually went on the become a sports agent, and one of his clients was Mark Rypien. Just an example of who you can meet when you leave the islands. Just my opinion.
on February 1,2012 | 10:35AM
ISCREAM wrote:
I would like to say Mahalo to those who stay home and represent....it is important...more important than going away. WE WILL SUPPORT YOU! FILL ALOHA STADIUM...BEAT WASHINTON, ARIZONA, CAL, UCLA, USC AND ALL THE PAC SCHOOLS!
on February 1,2012 | 12:04PM
Eradication wrote:
What a selfish comment. You have no background on any of these people who chose to leave for whatever reason. Staying in Hawaii to play football is NOT more important than going to the continent to play. It is just another option that these young people chose, that's it, nothing more. Quit making it sound like these young people turn their backs on Hawaii.
on February 1,2012 | 06:28PM
Usagi336 wrote:
And the big winner is.... The PAC 10 or 12 whatever! Congrats to all who are leaving the State and a big CHHEEEHHOOOOO! to those that chose to stay.
on February 1,2012 | 12:57PM
good luck to all. Do well for your school and team and make Hawaii proud. I just wish you guys could play for us at home. Hawaii no ka oi. Remember, if things don't go as well as you would like, TRANSFER back home.
on February 1,2012 | 03:43PM
bam wrote:
Congratulations to the young men and women who have earned their scholarships and rights to play for the college of their choice. Good luck and represent us well wherever you go...God bless.
on February 1,2012 | 04:22PM
kailua000 wrote:
All these comments. Let me just say it was a great event at the Sheraton. That lady should be thanked for doing this every year free for tha families and players
on February 1,2012 | 05:17PM
entrkn wrote:
It is a shame how some boys talk about how proud to be from Hawaii and how much they love Hawaii and then they turn their backs on Hawaii the first chance they get...
on February 1,2012 | 08:35PM
motoxdad wrote:
stop looking through your tube and broaden your mind.
on February 2,2012 | 05:08PM
Breaking News