Maui Sports

Baldwin’s Keelan Ewaliko to Sign NLI on Wednesday

February 5, 2013, 6:27 AM HST
* Updated February 5, 9:55 AM
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Photo by Ben Juan.

Photo by Ben Juan.

By Rodney S. Yap

Baldwin High School’s Keelan Ewaliko is expected to be the second Maui Interscholastic League football recruit to sign a letter of intent to University of Hawaii.

This should happen Wednesday, the first day student-athletes intending to play football can make their respective commitments official.

Ewaliko, the MIL’s only three-time offensive player of the year and the returning state champion at 200 meters, will sign his agreement with Hawaii before family and friends at a 9 a.m. press conference hosted by The Dunes at Maui Lani Golf Course.

Ewaliko is one of two local recruits planning to gray shirt the 2013 season and enroll for the spring semester in January 2014, saving five seasons to play four. The Baldwin quarterback verbally committed to play for Hawaii head coach Norm Chow in May.

Baldwin's Keelan Ewaliko.

Baldwin’s Keelan Ewaliko.

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Former Maui High running back Robert Kemfort was recruited in 1996 by then-Hawaii head coach Fred VonAppen. Kemfort, who was also a state champion hurdler, was converted to outside linebacker for his final two seasons at Hawaii.

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Other highly-touted prospects who have made verbal commitments to Hawaii are Kennedy Tulimasealii of Waianae; Rashaan Falemalu, John Wa’a, and Aofaga Wily of Kahuku; and Ualesi Sale of Aiea.

The Warriors made a final push for their top local recruits last weekend, hosting nine prospects, including Ewaliko, the only neighbor island player on Hawaii’s radar.

The other MIL football player set to sign a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday is Kamehameha Maui offensive lineman Dylan Nakoa, with Notre Dame College (Ohio).

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Nakoa will be joined by more than 50 other student-athletes from Oahu at the Pacific Islands Athletic Alliance 9th Annual National Letter of Intent (NLI) signing day event, the single largest signing event in the nation, held at the Sheraton Waikiki.

Keelan Ewaliko (left) and Abraham Reinhardt at  Polynesian All-American Classic in California last month.

Keelan Ewaliko (left) and Abraham Reinhardt at Polynesian All-American Classic in California last month.

Doris Sullivan’s ability to network with college coaches on behalf of hundreds of Hawaii high school athletes wanting to extend their athletic abilities to the college level is positively mind boggling. This year’s event will be broadcast live online through ScoringLive.com. Introduction of athletes begin at 6:20 a.m., with the signing to follow at 7 a.m.

Athletes from the following sports will be signing: NCAA Football, Men’s & Women’s Soccer, Men’s Water Polo, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field. Athletes signing with NAIA colleges in any sport may sign.

Mililani, the team that eliminated Baldwin in the quarterfinals of the 2012 state football tournament, has five players — not including quarterback Jarin Morikawa — scheduled to sign letters of intent.

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Ewaliko and teammate Abraham Reinhardt recently returned from the invitation-only third annual Polynesian All-American Classic all-star football game that was played at La Mirada (Calif.) High School Stadium.

Ewaliko said former UH and San Francisco 49ers’ offensive lineman Jesse Sapolu invited him to represent Team White, along with Wily and Kawehena Johnson of Kahuku, Shaun Kagawa of Kamehameha Big Island and Tulimasealii.

“I started, but the time off not playing football kind of hurt me,” said Ewaliko, who threw for 45 yards on 4 of 19 passing. “I didn’t throw the football since November and to come into an all-star game situation like that and expect to play well is hard.

“I thought I played fairly well, considering I had not played football in nearly two months.”

Ewaliko, who said he’s been training for the upcoming MIL track season, was by far the team’s leading rusher with 80 yards on 13 carries.

“It was fun to play against guys big guys, fast guys. To play against guys who are bigger and faster, it was fun, guys who are better than you can only make you better. It kind of gives you an idea of what college might be like.”

Defensively, Reinhardt finished second with five tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage, and one interception.

“I was playing safety and I read the receiver coming across the middle and saw the quarterback looking at him and I just broke on that,” said the 2012 MIL Special Team’s Player of the Year.

“Had three practices in two days. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but it was very competitive and exciting. All of the Hawaii boys stay together the whole time and we’re all good friends now.”

Reinhardt played the entire game at safety and said defensive coordinator Manu Tuiasosopo was very complimentary of his skills.

“He told me to keep doing what I’m doing and not to worry about the colleges, they will come. Keep training and practicing hard.”

List of student-athletes attending the PIAA Signing Day on Wednesday:
Name High School Sport College
Reeve Koehler Saint Louis Football University of Arkansas
Isaac Savaiinaea Punahou Football Texas A&M/UCLA
Madison Reed Mililani Soccer University of Hawaii
Noah Chang Punahou Football Pitzer College
Kyle Obana Punahou Football Brown University
Jeremy Tabuyo Saint Louis Football Texas A&M University
Colton Goeas Saint Louis Football University of Kansas
Isabelle Delgado Moanalua Soccer University of Nevada Las Vegas
Dakota Turner Mililani Football San Diego State
Jenson Toner Punahou Soccer University of Southern California
Kamalei Correa Saint Louis Football Boise State
Dempsey Lynn Banks Punahou Soccer Cornell University
Tierra “TJ” Reyno Mililani Soccer University of Hawaii
Mitchell Boyd Farrington Football Saint Francis University (PA)
Michael Boyd Farrington Football Saint Francis University (PA)
Ryan Tuiasoa Punahou Football Weber State University
Kennedy Tulimasealii Waianae Football University of Hawaii
Kai Gonda Kaiser Football Weber State University
Ualesi Sale Aiea Football University of Hawaii
Titus Failauga Mid Pacific/Pac 5 Football Oregon State University
Michael Atuaia Mililani Football U of Minnesota – Crookston
Wesley Nagaseu Waipahu Football Saint Francis University (PA)
Ekolu Ramos III Mililani Football U of Minnesota – Crookston
Justin Tago-Su’e James Campbell Football U of Minnesota – Crookston
Solomon Leaeno James Campbell Football SD School of Mines or UMN-Crookston
Jahna Kay Tacson Waipahu Soccer Southern Utah or Lamar University
Elli Brady Punahou Track/XCountry University of Notre Dame
Jaryn Villegas Leilehua Football Saint Francis University (PA)
Vincent Smith Waialua Football Campbellsville University
Manaia Perese Mililani Football Weber State University
David Lam Aiea Soccer Allen Community College
Jeremiah Taleni Kailua Football University of Pittsburgh
Shyani K. A. Terukina Mililani Soccer Utah State University
Storm Kenui Moanalua Soccer University of Hawaii
Joey Anglemire Mililani Football University of Nevada
Kamalani Pascua Iolani Soccer University of Hawaii
Logan Hanohano Punahou Football University of San Diego
Kealakekua Makekau Sacred Hearts Soccer Western Oregon
Taylor Kipilii Iolani Soccer US Naval Academy
Taylor Higa Mid Pacific Institute Soccer Western Oregon
Alyssa-Marie V. Almogela Waipahu Soccer Jackson State University
Ikea Ikehara Kamehameha Football Weber State
Dylan Nakoa Kamehameha-Maui Football Notre Dame College (Ohio)
Shaney Sakamoto Kamehameha Soccer St Louis U or U of Oregon
Jazlyn M. McCoy Waianae Soccer Allen Community College
Kirk Ronolo Kailua Football City College of San Francisco
John Wa’a Kahuku Football University of Hawaii
Anu Kahele-Manners Moanalua Soccer Hawaii Pacific University
Preston Derige Mililani Soccer Allen Community College
Summer Burnett Kamehameha Soccer University of Georgia
Drew McDurmin Aiea Football U of Minnesota-Crookston
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