Football in paradise, perhaps that most accurately describes the recent Blue-Grey Regional Combine in Hawaii. Only thing better than the scenery, in fact, was the talent level during the workout at Saint Louis High in Honolulu.
NFL veterans Tevita Ofahengaue and Mark McMillian provided instruction to the 100-plus prospects, some of the high-profile variety and others the under-the-radar types. That said, here’s a look at who left a lasting impression.
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Saint Louis (HI): The 6-foot-1 and 190-pound sophomore was expected to be one of the marquee names on hand. And he certainly didn’t disappoint. Given his effort, it should not come as a surprise to learn that his nationwide scholarship count is approaching double digits. Stay tuned.
Ephraim Tuliloa, QB, Punahou (HI): Skilled and nearly polished, the 6-1 and 210-pound junior proved capable of making all the throws required by the coaching staff. With a handful of offers already in place, one in the Pac-12 Conference from Colorado, sky’s the limit.
Vavae Malepeai, RB, Mililani (HI): The 6-foot and 195-pound junior was seemingly without peer out of the backfield. He gave opponents fits once the one-on-ones started. Suppose that best explains why he has offers from schools from the Pac-12 Conference and the SEC.
Challen Faamatau, RB, Farrington (HI): Around this time next year, signs point to the 5-10 and 183-pound sophomore having a chance to be recognized as one of the island’s premier players at his spot on the field. In the meantime, we’ll keep a close eye on his progress.
Kalakaua Timoteo, WR, Mililani (HI): The 6-1 and 190-pound junior had his way with everyone in secondary. No one had much, if any, success at stopping him once the individual drills started. In terms of increasing his overall stock, it was mission accomplished.
Hirkley Latu, DB, Kahuku (HI): Limited in large part due to a nagging injury, the 6-3 and 200-pound junior, also a BYU commit, was not going to let an opportunity to interact with members of the media pass him by. His presence alone spoke volumes about his character.
Charles Watson, DB, Wahaiwa (HI): The 6-1 and 170-pound sophomore played with the poise of an upperclassman from start to finish. Far from intimidated by his many more experienced counterpart o offense, his battles with Timoteo, in particular, took center stage.
Keiki Misipeka, DB, Farrington (HI): A bit raw, although with a high ceiling, the 5-8 and 175-pound sophomore was a quick-learner and the coaching staff took a liking to him right away. Given his work-ethic, it’s reasonable to expect big things from him in the future.
Mosese Fifita, LB, Kapaa (HI): The 6-foot and 205-pound junior entered the workout as one of many relative unknowns. By day’s end, however, he had successfully made a name for himself. The key for him moving forward is to maintain the momentum he’s built.
Jeremiah Pritchard, LB, Farrington (HI): An up-and-comer on the whole recruiting scene lately, the 6-foot and 200-pound junior did nothing to tarnish his growing reputation. Colorado, Hawaii and UNLV have jumped on his bandwagon and others figure to follow suit.
Michael Eletise, OL, Kaiser (HI): The 6-4 and 300-pound junior was seemingly a man among boys and his ability to dominate throughout was expected. Also, we’d be remiss without talking about his 20-plus offers. And the attention shows no signs of slowing down.
Sean Auwae, OL, Kapolei (HI): Another hot commodity, the 6-4 and 295-pound junior accepted each and every challenge in this setting. By our count, he did not lose a rep during the one-on-one’s. Several Pac-12 Conference programs are waiting for a commitment.
Nate Herbig, OL, Saint Louis (HI): The 6-4 and 330-pound junior did not get lost in the shuffle with Eletise and Auwae in the mix. For the record, the three of them were inseparable. Similar to his peers, Herbig has received college interest, most notably from Oregon.
Frederick Mauigoa, OL, Tafuna (AS): Due to a prior commitment, the 6-4 and 295-pound junior could not participate. Still, he has offers from Hawaii and Washington State. His name is one to remember, along with fellow islanders Blessman Taala and Julian Falaniko.
Kahewai Kaaiawaawa, DL, Mililani (HI): The 6-2 and 255-pound junior was challenged from start to finish. Nevertheless, he did not back from any challenge. Same thing can be said about fellow lineman Kaimana Padello, another recruit worth keeping an eye on.