There are two former Firebrands wearing the football gear of the Saint Louis Crusaders.
One has already drawn up his college adventure map. The other is in no rush to figure that out just yet. Defensive end Juda Parker, a 6-foot-2, 245-pound senior, will give Tennessee’s coaching staff a phone call on Sunday to give his oral commitment. Sunday is technically when a high school football player can give a commitment during this time of year.
"The position coach, Chuck Smith, is a 10-year vet from the (Atlanta) Falcons," Parker said yesterday before practice. "His specialty is the pass rush and he can teach me a lot."
After making his decision, Parker’s first call went to former Word of Life coach Joe Onosai.
The other Firebrand-turned-Crusader, left guard Paulay Asiata (6-5, 280), has offers from nine schools: Arizona State, Boise State, Hawaii, Memphis, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, USC and Wyoming. He downplays Internet rumors about his possible final choice.
"Right now, I’m keeping everything open," said Asiata, who has a 3.0 grade-point average. "Just one step at a time."
Another Crusader, returning quarterback Marcus Mariota, committed to Oregon in May. A few days after that, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior-to-be ran the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds at the PIAA combine in Aloha Stadium.
Other recent commitments have been given by McKinley’s Solomon Dixon to Idaho and Kaimuki’s Chester Sua to Washington State. Sua, a two-way starter, was recruited as a running back. He turned down offers from Idaho, Oregon State and Washington. He has a 37-inch vertical and runs the 40 in 4.41 seconds, and also plays basketball for Kaimuki.
Dixon, recruited as a cornerback, will play multiple positions for new McKinley coach Joseph Cho on both sides of the ball.
"I might play a little bit at quarterback," he said during a team photo shoot on Saturday.
In addition to Parker and Asiata, six other former Firebrands are suiting up for new programs this season.
Another prominent lineman, MacKenzie Togafau, is at McKinley.
Awa Poggi, who rushed for 1,100 yards and was an All-State third-team selection, is now a senior at Kailua.
Pac-Five may benefit the most. Richard Landford and Ryan Alvarado enrolled at University High, while Kobe Manaba and Jordon Manaba landed at St. Francis—schools that are under Pac-Five’s umbrella.