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4-star corner UH-bound

Mike Edwards tops Hawaii's football recruits, who can sign binding letters of intent today

By Stephen Tsai

LAST UPDATED: 1:32 a.m. HST, Feb 2, 2011

In a frenetic finish to the dotted line, the Hawaii football team secured oral commitments from a former four-star cornerback who played at Tennessee as a freshman and two all-state players from Kahuku High.

Mike Edwards, a cornerback from Ohio, and Red Raiders safety Tigi Hill and linebacker Ben Mamea promised they will put their commitments in writing today, the first day recruits may sign binding national letters of intent.

"I'm going to be a Warrior," Edwards said. "I'm going to sign with Hawaii. No doubt about it."

As a senior at Ohio's powerful Glenville High, Edwards received offers from Michigan, Illinois and Tennessee. Glenville's head coach is Ted Ginn, father of the San Francisco 49ers' kick returner Ted Ginn Jr.

Edwards accepted Tennessee's offer as part of head coach Lane Kiffin's first — and only — recruiting class with the Volunteers.

Edwards played five games as a true freshman in 2009. But in November of that year, Edwards and three teammates were arrested and initially charged with armed robbery. The players were dismissed from the team. Later, the charges were dropped. There is no legal claim against Edwards.

Last year, Edwards enrolled at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. He attended classes toward an associate's degree, but didn't play football.

Edwards said he chose UH because of the program's direction and the coaches, especially head coach Greg McMackin and assistant coach Tony Tuioti. He will have three years to play three UH seasons.

Edwards, who is 5 feet 10 and 170 pounds, has run 40 yards in 4.48 seconds and 100 meters in 10.4 seconds.

Edwards is considered to be the jewel of a recruiting class in which the Warriors addressed several needs.

Two areas were met when Hill and Mamea chose to accept

scholarship offers. They will sign their letters this morning at a ceremony at Kahuku High.

Red Raiders coach Reggie Torres described Hill as "a heck of a player with a great attitude. He's a happy kid. He brings to practice that positive energy."

Torres also marveled at Hill's hard-hitting skills.

"He's not afraid to bring the hat," Torres said. "We saw that in the all-star game."

Torres said Hill, who is 6 feet 3 and 215 pounds, was used as a strong safety, free safety, wide receiver, quarterback and linebacker.

"And he's very good on special teams," Torres said.

Torres said Mamea, who is 6 feet 1 and 228 pounds, has good lateral quickness.

"He can go sideline to sideline to make a play," Torres said. "He's a great leader."

Mamea also was used as a fullback.

Mamea said UH was an easy choice.

"I wanted to stay home and play in front of my family," he said. "I wanted to be around the environment."

Mamea said much of the Warriors' defensive principles are similar to Kahuku's.

"It's going to be good to play for them," Mamea said.

If the recruits come through with their pledges, the Warriors will have filled key spots. They entered recruiting needing to replace three starting receivers (Greg Salas, Kealoha Pilares and Rodney Bradley) and three No. 1 defensive backs, while replenishing the offensive line, and boosting the pass rush.

They received commitments from five receivers, three offensive linemen, three defensive ends and two cornerbacks.

Will Gregory and Jared Leaf will compete for the job as successor to 1,000-yard rusher Alex Green, who exhausted his UH eligibility.

Under tighter constraints — the NCAA is cracking down on oversigning players this year — the Warriors expanded their recruiting reach. Offensive tackle Blake Muir is from Australia. Offensive lineman Ben Dew attended Word of Life in 2009, and spent the next year in New Zealand. Linebacker Penitito Faalologo is from American Samoa.

The Warriors appeared to have fought off poachers. A few days after committing to UH, safety Kendrick Van Ackeren was invited on a recruiting trip by Washington.

Van Ackeren, who was the Seattle Times' 3A defensive player of the year in 2010, went on the trip but reaffirmed his commitment to the Warriors. He is expected to compete at outside linebacker.

Tavita Woodard, a Hawaii-raised defensive end from Eastern Arizona, was heavily recruited, even after making an oral commitment to the Warriors. Woodard, who attended Kahuku and graduated from McKinley, said he turned down an invitation to visit California this past weekend.


Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
Chinedu Promise Amadi SB 5-10 185 Chino (Calif.) HS
Ijumaa Armstrong DB 5-11 180 Culver City HS
Brian Clay CB 6-1 185 Will C. Wood HS (Vacaville, Calif.)
Craig Cofer DE 6-5 250 Grossmont College (Calif.)
Brenden Daley LB 6-4 255 Ventura (Calif.) College
Trevor Davis WR 6-1 165 Alhambra HS (Martinez, Calif.)
Ben Dew OL 6-4 300 Word of Life Academy (2009)
Cecil Doe WR 6-3 210 North Dakota State College of Science
Michael Edwards CB 5-10 170 Coffeyville (Kan.) College
Penitito Faalologo LB 6-1 220 Fagaitua HS (American Samoa)
Chris Gant WR 6-1 185 Moorpark (Calif.) College
Will Gregory RB 6-0 200 Dominguez (Calif.) HS
Ellis Henderson WR 6-1 180 Skyview HS (Vancouver, Wash.)
Tigi Hill S 6-3 215 Kahuku HS
Jared Leaf RB 6-2 230 Alhambra HS (Martinez, Calif.)
Ben Mamea LB 6-0 228 Kahuku HS
Blake Muir OL 6-5 285 Kirrawee (Australia) HS
Thomas Olds OL 6-4 275 San Clemente (Calif.) HS
Kendrick Van Ackeren LB 6-1 205 Bellevue (Wash.) HS
Justin Vele LB 6-1 235 Farrington HS
Tavita Woodard DE 6-4 255 Eastern Arizona College

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