POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 10, 2010
Although he will not join the Hawaii football team until July, receiver Chris Gant already has a head start.
"I know how to do the haka," Gant said. "We did it my freshman year (at Bishop Alemany High in Mission Hills, Calif.)."
Gant, a sophomore at Moorpark (Calif.) College, said he has accepted a football scholarship offer from the Warriors.
"I'm very excited to play for them," Gant said. "I had my eye on Hawaii as my school since the eighth grade."
From ESPN telecasts, Gant said, he became a fan of the Warriors' four-wide passing offense. He said he followed former UH quarterback Colt Brennan and slotback Davone Bess.
A childhood dream was fulfilled when he received a call from Brian Smith, UH's running backs coach.
Gant said he took a recruiting trip to Hawaii this past weekend.
"We got to experience the game-day things," Gant said. "I experienced the meetings and riding on the bus (to the game) and the stadium. It was fun."
Gant said he was impressed with "the players and the coaches and the fans and the stadium. I liked everything. There wasn't anything I didn't like about the trip."
In turn, the Warriors have been impressed with Gant, who had a prolific two-season career at Moorpark.
This past season, Gant had 81 receptions for 1,134 yards and 17 touchdowns. In two seasons with the Raiders, he has 145 catches and 33 touchdowns.
He was named to the 2010 All-Western State Conference first team.
Gant said he is 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds.
In the 40-yard dash, he said, "I was hand-timed at 4.4 (seconds)."
Gant's agility could be traced to his years of playing basketball.
"When I was 10, I was going up against 6-footers," he said.
Gant first dunked in the summer before his freshman year of high school. He said he received interest from Nevada, Fresno State, New Mexico State and Wyoming, but said he made his decision during his UH visit.
"I loved it," he said. "I loved how everybody is together. I love the fans."
Gant has been told he will compete at slotback, a position that will be vacated when starters Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares complete their NCAA eligibility with the Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl.
His teammates call him "King Gant," but not for LeBron James-like reasons.
"My mother's maiden name is King," he said. "I got a tattoo for that, and everybody started calling me King Gant."