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5 JUCO recruits sign with Warriors

By Stephen Tsai


The Hawaii football team received the first installment of the 2013 recruiting class with signed commitments from five junior college players.

They are:

• David Griffin, a 6-foot-6, 320-pound left tackle from Mesa (Ariz.) Community College.

• Vasquez Haynes, a 6-2, 205-pound receiver from Texas' Blinn College.

• Josh Long, a 6-4, 240-pound tight end from Riverside (Calif.) College.

• Julian Gener, a 6-foot, 230-pound linebacker from Mount San Antonio College in California.

• Tevita Lataimua, a 6-foot, 230-pound linebacker from College of San Mateo.

Wednesday was the first day midyear transfers could sign national letters of intent. All five will enroll at UH in January and participate in spring training.

"We improved our team," UH coach Norm Chow said. "We scouted the country to fill immediate needs. It's a nice start. We still have a long way to go."

The Warriors have received oral commitments from 15 other recruits. Those prospects will sign their letters on Feb. 6, the first day recruits who will join in the summer may put commitments in writing.

Griffin, who did not allow a sack in 2012, will challenge immediately for a starting job. If he does well, last year's left tackle, Blake Muir, could move to left guard.

Griffin "is a big get for us," Chow said. "We needed to get stronger up front. We needed to get more physical up front. He gives us an opportunity to do that."

Haynes is one of five receivers to pledge to UH. Chow said Haynes' build resembles "the kind of receiver we see every Saturday. This league demands bigger and more physical receivers because of all of the bump-and-run coverages."

Long will replace tight end Ryan Hall, who retired from football this month. Hall finished the season as the on-line tight end, although he would have been used as an F-back — the hybrid receiver/fullback usually known as H-back — if he returned next season.

Long is "an athletic tight end," Chow said. "He can be that F-back. Ryan was going to be that guy."

Gener had 103 tackles, including 13 for losses, this season. He was seventh in tackles among the defensive players from the 70 California community college football programs.

Lataimua had 89 tackles, including 5.5 sacks.

"We need guys with a trigger," said Chow, using the vernacular for the ability to quickly decipher plays, "to go after the football. Both of these (linebackers) do a great job of that. We're excited about them. You can't have enough linebackers. You need them for special teams."

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