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Thursday, July 18, 2024 77° Today's Paper


Warriors gain another rusher

A running back from junior college’s national champion has decided to play for the University of Hawaii football team.

Lancer Tuitele of Mount San Antonio College in California said he will participate in the Warriors’ training camp, which begins Aug. 4.

What’s more, his brother, running back Burton Iosefa, will join the Warriors in January.

At Mount SAC, Tuitele was known as Lancer Iosefa.

He said he will have "Tuitele" on the back of his UH jersey to honor his grandfather, who recently died.

On his highlight video, Tuitele is listed as 5-foot-10, 190 pounds. He said he is capable of completing the pro-agility drill in 3.97 seconds. His vertical jump is 41 inches.

As a member of a military family—"Lancer" was the name of his father’s brigade’s mascot—Tuitele was born in Georgia, raised mostly in Oklahoma, and attended high school in San Jose. His five siblings and his mother were born in Hawaii. His father was born in American Samoa.

"I was the odd one," Tuitele said, laughing.

Living in different places, he said, "was good. I got to experience new things. I got to stretch myself a lot. It was good to meet people from around the world. I was able to further my horizons."

Before attending Mount SAC, Tuitele spent two years in New York City on a mission for the Mormon church.

"It was the best overall experience," said Tuitele, who was assigned to Brooklyn and Queens. "It was galvanizing. Doing the Lord’s work made me who I am today. I met a lot of different people, from different countries. It’s the melting pot of the world. Basically the only part missing was Polynesian. I didn’t meet one (Polynesian) on my mission. Not one."

Tuitele said he welcomed the opportunity to play in front of relatives in Hawaii. He said Mount SAC runs a spread offense that is similar to the Warriors’ four-wide passing attack.

"We ran a lot of (shot)gun, a lot of pass protection (by the backs), and zone runs and inside runs," he said.

He took snaps in the wildcat formation in which the running back aligns as the quarterback. His quarterback rating was perfect: His lone pass went for a touchdown.

In 14 games, Tuitele, who shared running and blocking duties with his brother, rushed for 509 yards and nine touchdowns. He averaged 4.2 yards per carry.

Mount SAC went 13-1, defeating College of San Mateo 7-6 in the California Community College Athletic Association championship game.

There are 71 football teams competing in CCCAA, and the winner of the state title game is considered to be a national champion.

"I’ve lived in a lot of places, and I’ve had great experiences," Tuitele said. "I’m ready to live in Hawaii."

He said he will have two years to play two seasons.

He is the second running back to commit to the Warriors in the past few days.

On Friday, Sterling Jackson, a 6-foot-1 225-pounder from Mendocino (Calif.) College, said he would join the Warriors.


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