The Hawaii football coaches began to feel as if they were left high and dry when they did not get any recruiting updates from a desert city.
In a Kapahulu restaurant in January, safety Tigi Hill of Arizona’s Mesa College said he would accept a football scholarship from the Warriors. This past weekend, Hill called to from Arizona to say UH was one of five schools he was considering.
“That’s 20 percent,” UH coach Norm Chow recalled glumly.
Then Wednesday morning, the first day recruits may signing national letters of intent this period, Hill could not be reached.
“I was second-guessing myself,” Hill admitted.
A half-hour before a news conference to announce UH’s recruiting class, Hill signed with the Warriors. He faxed a copy to UH.
“I wanted to make sure UH was the right fit,” said Hill, a 2011 Kahuku High graduate who pondered offers from Auburn, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona State. “After thinking and praying, UH felt right.”
While acknowledging the situation was “stressful,” Chow said: ”We like to compete. We competed today.”
Indeed, the Warriors withstood several challenges to assemble one of their top recruiting classes in several years.
They signed six of the 11 Hawaii high school players they pursued, including Kahuku running back Aofaga Wily and Waianae defensive tackle Kennedy Tulimasealii. Chow said both were considered their top offensive and defensive targets locally.
Washington sent Tulimasealii a letter of intent Wednesday morning. A New Jersey newspaper reported that receiver Keith Kirkwood had de-committed to UH and signed with Rutgers. That report proved to be false. Despite objections from key family members, Kirkwood signed with UH.
The Warriors were not done. They also received an oral commitment from running back/defensive tackle David “The Horse” Fangupo of Kealakehe High. He turned down offers from Brigham Young and Georgia Tech. He said he will sign in two weeks after taking the SAT.
Here are the new Warriors:
>> Ammon Barker, WR, Alta High (Utah)
>> Keelan Ewaliko, QB/WR, Baldwin High
>> Rashaan Falemalu, LB, Kahuku High
>> Julian Gener, LB, Mount San Antonio College (Calif.)
>> David Griffin, OL, Mesa College (Ariz.)
>> Vasquez Haynes, WR, Blinn College (Texas)
>> Trayvon Henderson, S, Grant Union High (Calif.)
>> Barry Higdon, CB, Chaminade-Madonna Prep (Fla.)
>> Tigi Hill, S, Mesa College
>> Marcus Kemp, WR, Layton High (Utah)
>> Keith Kirkwood, WR, Neptune High (N.J.)
>> Matt Koloamatangi, Woodside High (Calif.)
>> Tevita Lataimua, LB, College of San Mateo (Calif.)
>> Josh Long, TE, Riverside College (Calif.)
>> David Manoa, DE/LB, Aragon High (Calif.)
>> Drake Miller, LB, Bingham High (Utah)
>> Terrance Polk, WR, Los Medanos College (Calif.)
>> Diocemy Saint Juste, RB, Santaluces High (Fla.)
>> Ualesi Sale, LB, Aiea High
>> Jamie Tago, LB, Samoana High (American Samoa)
>> Kennedy Tulimasealii, DT, Waianae High
>> Elijah Tupai, OL, Cottonwood High (Utah)
>> John Waa, OL, Kahuku High
>> Darzil Washington, LB, Eastern Arizona JC
>> Aofaga Wily, RB, Kahuku High
>> Aaron Zwahlen, QB, Downey High (Calif.)