18 Signees: Rolovich Excited About First Recruiting Class
University of Hawaii head football coach Nick Rolovich completed his first signing class with the announcement of 18 signees on National Signing Day, Wednesday, the first day prospects may sign a National Letter of Intent. Rolovich made the announcement official during an afternoon press conference at the UH Athletics Department.
Among the 18 signees are 16 high school seniors, one junior college transfer, and one FBS transfer. Seven of the signees are listed as offensive players, nine as defensive, and two as athletes. Among the position breakdown are three cornerbacks, three offensive linemen, two athletes, two wide receivers, two linebackers, two defensive linemen, two safeties, one quarterback, and one running back. The signees represent four states (7 – California, 5 – Hawaii, 1 – Nevada, 1 – Washington), one U.S. territory (3 – American Samoa), and one foreign country (1 – Australia).
“This is an outstanding class, built on proven winners from championship programs and local recruiting,” Rolovich said. “We also opened up pipelines with Australia and American Samoa, places where we want to continue to recruit. We signed 16 high school seniors with the intention of building a foundation of stability and we started at the line of scrimmage with offensive and defensive linemen. We covered a lot of ground in the position groups and to do it in a condensed amount of time, is a testament to the staff.”
Local recruiting was a top priority for the coaching staff. The Warriors snagged the state’s defensive player of the year in Keala Santiago from Division I champion Kahuku High School and consensus all-state wide receiver Kalakaua Timoteo from 2014 state champion Mililani High School, both of whom were among the state’s top prospects. Santiago was also picked as KHON2’s Chad Owens Award winner as the state’s special teams player of the year. In addition, two highly regarded prospects, Leilehua High School defensive lineman Netane Muti and Iolani School offensive lineman Josh Hauani’o also inked with UH along with Silverado (Nev.) High School linebacker Jeremiah Pritchard, originally of American Samoa who also attended Honolulu’s Farrington High School for one year.
UH beat out several Pac-12 schools for Norte Vista (Calif.) High School’s Freddie Holly, the nation’s 19th-best running back and cornerback Mykal Tolliver of St. John Bosco (Calif.) High School, the 11th-best corner in the West. Sonora (Calif.) High’s Cole McDonald was a dual-threat quarterback who threw for 2,313 yards and 19 touchdowns and rushed for 1,091 yards and 10 scores as a senior.
Linebacker Ikem Okeke, of national power Bishop Gorman (Nev.) High School in Las Vegas, was rated as the 10th-best outside linebacker in the West region. Washington power Ballard High School’s Davine Tullis, was the Seattle metro 3A offensive player of the year at quarterback but was recruited as an athlete.
Wide receiver Marcus Armstrong-Brown, of Diablo Valley (Calif.) College, was a top-ranked JUCO receiver, who caught 102 passes and 20 touchdowns in two seasons at Diablo. Offensive lineman Kingjames Taylor was a two-way player at Narbonne (Calif.) High School while defensive back Eugene Ford was a first-team all-city selection, who played both cornerback and wide receiver at University (Calif.) High School in Los Angeles.
Australian rugby player Max Hendrie was one of the nation’s first signees, submitting his paperwork on Tuesday due to the international dateline. Two other prospects from American Samoa signed with UH, defensive back Scheyenne Sanitoa, the defensive MVP of the JPS Paradise Classic all-star game, and defensive lineman Viane Moala, one of the country’s top linemen.
UCLA transfer offensive lineman Fred Ulu-Perry and Upland (Calif.) High’s Zach Wilson were mid-year enrollees and are also part of the 2016 signing class. Ulu-Perry was a four-star recruit out of Honolulu’s Saint Louis School in 2015 while Wilson attended Mt. SAC College last year but did not play football.
WR | 6-3 | 195 | Jr. | Napa, Calif. | Diablo Valley College
Will graduate this spring from Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Calif…a two-year standout at wide receiver, recording 57 receptions for 638 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore after being listed on the JCGridiron.com Preseason JUCO Wide Receiver Watch List (Calif.)…as a freshman, received all-Bay 6 League honors after making 55 catches for 869 yards and 10 touchdowns, a 15.8 yards per catch average…is a 2013 graduate of Justin-Siena High School in Napa, Calif., and was named the 2012-13 Napa Valley Register’s Male Athlete of the Year…was starting quarterback in a split-veer offense as a senior, accounting for 776 yards passing with eight touchdowns, and 851 yards rushing for 11 scores…also returned 11 punts for 211 yards and a 19.2-yard average…received first-team all-Marin County Athletic League (MCAL), all-Napa Country honors and earned the team’s “Brave Heart” leadership award after leading JSHS to an 11-2 record and the CIF North Coast Section Division IV title…as a junior, he played wide receiver and received second-team all-MCAL and second-team all-county honors…also played basketball and competed in field events on the track team in high school…rated as a three-star recruit by Scout…also held offers from Memphis and Sacramento State.
DB | 6-2 | 185 | Fr. | Los Angeles, Calif. | University High School
Will graduate this spring from University High School in Los Angeles, Calif…was a three-year varsity standout on both sides of the ball, registering 87 tackles, including 56 solo stops as a senior…deflected four passes and made two interceptions, including one pick-six…received first-team CIF Division II all-City honors as a defensive back as a senior, also earning first-team all-City honors as a receiver following his junior season…as a receiver, recorded 68 catches for 1,087 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior, racking up 135 career receptions for 2,268 yards and 21 touchdowns…also recorded a 13-yard career average on punt returns…as a junior, he posted 64 tackles and two interceptions, following up a sophomore campaign that included 58 tackles, five passes defended and four interceptions…played basketball for UHS and competed in the triple jump in track and field as a junior…also held an offer from San Jose State.
OL | 6-4 | 300 | Fr. | Honolulu Oahu | Iolani School
Will graduate this spring from the ‘Iolani School in Honolulu, O’ahu…earned third-team Honolulu Star-Advertiser all-state and second-team all-Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) honors as center and left guard for the Raiders…named honorable mention all-ILH as a junior…was a member of the 2014 HHSAA Division II State Championship and consecutive ILH Championship (2013-14) squads…also competes as a thrower for ‘Iolani track and field, finishing second in the shot put at the ILH Championships and sixth at the HHSAA Championships last year.
ATH | 6-4 | 235 | Fr. | Sydney, New South Wales, Australia |The Scots College
Graduated from The Scots College in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in December 2014…versatile athlete who played rugby for one of the leading programs in Australia…aided his team to Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales (AAGPS) Championship in 2014…also threw shot put for the track and field team at SC, winning the event at the Combined independent Schools (CIS) Athletics Championships, helping his team to the title in 2014…attended the same high school as one of the first UH Australian football players, Colin Scotts.
RB | 6-0 | 210 | Fr. | Riverside, Calif. | Norte Vista High School
Will graduate this spring from Norte Vista High School in Riverside, Calif…Rated a three-star running back recruit by Rivals, Scout, 247sports and ESPN…ranked as the No. 19 running back by Rivals, and listed as the No. 7 back in the west and No. 6 in California by Scout …received first-team all-CIF Southern Section Eastern honors in each of the past three years and was named to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State second team as a senior…set school career rushing records of 5,752 yards and 69 touchdowns…carried 219 times for 2,002 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior…was on the 2015 Parade All-America Preseason Watch List after registering the sixth-most rushing yards in California as a junior, racking up 2,593 yards on 244 carries, averaging a state seventh-best 216.1 yards per game and tying for the 12th-most rushing touchdowns in the state, posting 31 scores…received CalHiSports All-State Junior honors in 2014…appeared in the Inland Empire All-Star Classic…initially committed to Arizona State and was offered by Colorado State, San Diego State, San Jose State and Louisville.
QB | 6-4 | 195 | Fr. | La Habra, Calif. | Sonora High School
Will graduate this spring from Sonora High School in La Habra, Calif…as a senior, completed 134-of-215 passes for 2,313 yards and 19 touchdowns, while also rushing for 1,091 yards and 10 touchdowns on 116 carries…led the Raiders to reach the second round of the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division playoffs…logged 1,372 yards and eight TDs passing as a junior, rushing for 725 yards and six TDs on 69 carries…as a sophomore, he put up 850 yards passing and 199 yards rushing, with seven total scores…as a senior, earned Whittier Daily News second-team all-area honors…appeared in the 37th San Gabriel Valley Hall of Fame All-Star Game, leading the East squad to a 34-6 win and was named MVP, throwing for one touchdown and rushing for another…also runs track for SHS, competing in the 100m, 200m and on relays…rated as a three-star recruit by 247sports.
DL | 6-7 | 270 | Fr. | Ili’Ili, American Samoa | Tafuna High School
Will graduate this spring from Tafuna High School, where he was among the top linemen in American Samoa…selected to play in the Polynesian All-American Bowl…was a standout performer on defense at the JPS Paradise Classic at Aloha Stadium, aiding American Samoa to a runner-up finish in the all-star tournament.
DT | 6-4 | 275 | Fr. | Wahiawa, Oahu | Leilehua High School
Will graduate this spring from Leilehua High School in Wahiawa, O’ahu…was a two-way lineman for the Mules, playing both left tackle and left guard on offense, while appearing as nose guard and end on defense…earned second-team ScoringLive all-Hawai’i Division I honors as an offensive lineman and second-team American Family Insurance ALL-USA Hawai’i honors as a defensive lineman, as well as first-team all-O’ahu Interscholastic Association (OIA) Red honors as a defensive lineman and second-team accolades as an offensive lineman…brother, Ma’ake was a redshirt freshman defensive lineman at Azuza Pacific in 2015.
LB | 6-0 | 210 | Fr. | Las Vegas, Nev./Gardena, Calif. | Bishop Gorman High School
Will graduate this spring from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nev., where he started at outside linebacker for the Gaels, who won not only consecutive Nevada Division 1 State Championships, but also won two straight USA Today Super 25 National Championships…registered 42 tackles (27 solo) as a senior, including three for loss, with one sack and one interception, forcing one fumble and recovering two…earned first-team all-Southwest League and SilverStatePreps all-Southwest honors, also receiving NevadaPreps all-state honorable mention……listed on the Nevada Prep Report All-Prospect Team…was named to the Las Vegas Sun Preseason All-City Team prior to the 2015 season…as a junior, logged 56 tackles (45 solo) with 16.5 for loss, seven sacks and one interception, forcing three fumbles…earned first-team all-Southwest League honors as a junior…rated a three-star recruit by Rivals, Scout and 247sports…ranked as the No. 10 outside linebacker in the west and first in Nevada by Scout…ranked as the No. 6 player in Nevada by 247sports, also the No. 10 player in the state by Rivals…older brother, Obim, was a freshman receiver at Baylor in 2015…also held offers from UNLV and Nevada…was coached by Hawai’i alum Chris Brown.
LB | 6-0 | 200 | Fr. | Leone, American Samoa | Silverado High School (Nev.)
Originally from American Samoa, moving to O’ahu prior to his junior year of high school…will graduate this spring from Silverado High School in Paradise, Nev., where he played his senior season under former NFL all-Pro quarterback Randall Cunningham, posting 67 tackles to lead the Skyhawks, making four interceptions and aiding the team to its first playoff victory in eight years…received second-team all-Northeast League, was named to the NevadaPreps all-state second team and also listed on Nevada Prep Report’s All-Prospect Team…previously played for Farrington High School in Honolulu, registering 48 tackles in nine games, including four sacks, during his junior season as part of a Governors team that finished third in the OIA and lost to eventual state champion Mililani in the semi-finals…following his junior season, was ranked the No. 2 outside linebacker in Hawai’i and 17th in the west…lined up for the West in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, coached by NFL veteran Mark McMillian…played for the Sunrise Region in the West Charleston Lions Club Charity All-Star Football Game and was named the Defensive MVP—his performance highlighted by a sack and forced fumble that generated a touchdown recovery… rated a three-star prospect by Rivals, Scout and 247sports…also held offers from Colorado and UNLV.
DB | 6-0 | 200 | Fr. | Pago Pago, American Samoa | Samoana High School
Will graduate this spring from Samoana High School in Pago Pago, American Samoa, playing free safety…was a standout in the JPS Paradise Classic at Aloha Stadium, earning JPSC Defensive MVP, making two interceptions in the championship game…also a baseball and track and field standout in America Samoa, named to the 2014-15 ASHSAA Baseball All-Star second team and also representing his home country in the sprints at the IAAF World Youth Championships at the Estadio Olimpico Pascual Guerrero in Santiago de Cali, Colombia…Older brother Sonny was a three-year starter at defensive end at UNLV, completing his career in 2015.
DB | 6-0 | 185 | Fr. | Kahuku, Oahu | Kahuku High School
Will graduate this spring from Kahuku High School in Kahuku, O’ahu, where he played safety and returner for the Red Raiders and was a key member of the KHS defense which pitched six shutouts and held opponents to a 4.1 points per game average, en route to an undefeated 13-0 record, O’ahu Interscholastic Association (OIA) title and HHSAA State Championship…made 19 tackles and picked off eight passes as a senior, including two for touchdowns…forced a fumble and recovered another…as a senior, was first team all-state and the Defensive Player of the Year on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, American Family Insurance ALL-USA Hawai’i, Cover2 and ScoringLive All-Hawai’i Football Division I teams…also named the Cover2 Chad Owens Award Winner for Hawai’i special teams player of the year, recording three punt returns for touchdowns on the year…was named 2015 OIA Red Defensive Player of the Year in addition to first-team all-OIA Red honors…as a junior, received first-team all-OIA Red honors and was Cover2 all-state second team as a defensive back…rated a three-star recruit by Scout and 247sports…his father, Louis, and uncle, Walter, played for UH in the 1980s…also held offers from Colorado, Navy, Army and UNLV.
OL | 6-3 | 270 | Fr. | Harbor City, Calif. | Narbonne High School
Will graduate this spring from Narbonne High School in Harbor City, Calif…a two-way lineman for the Gauchos…recorded 26 pancake blocks in 13 games as a senior, aiding NHS to a 14-2 record and the first-ever CIF State Division I-A Football Championship for both the program and City Section, as well as the Marine League and Los Angeles City Section titles…recorded nine tackles and one sack playing along the defensive line…received first-team all-City Division I honors as an offensive lineman.
WR | 6-3 | 195 | Fr. | Mililani, Oahu | Mililani High School
Will graduate this spring from Mililani High School on O’ahu…during both his junior and senior seasons, he received first-team honors on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser all-state, Cover2 all-state, ScoringLive all-Hawai’i Football Division I, American Family Insurance all-USA Hawai’i and all-OIA Blue teams…was a key component in Mililani’s HHSAA State Championship in 2014, making 56 catches for 1,025 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior…as a senior, he led MHS with 70 catches for 1,345 yards and 22 touchdowns in 12 games for the Trojans, who reached the State Playoff semi-final…received a three-star recruit ranking from 247sports, Rivals and Scout, earning a No. 8 in-state ranking and was a consensus No. 2 wide receiver in Hawai’i among the recruiting services…holds school record for most receiving yards in a game, racking up 199 in a 45-20 win over Wai’anae High School, also reaching 193 yards twice against Kapolei and Liberty (Nev.)…also held offers from UNLV and Washington State.
ATH | 6-2 | 195 | Fr. | Seattle, Wash. | Ballard High School
Will graduate in the spring from Ballard High School in Seattle, Wash., playing quarterback for a Beavers team that recorded an 8-3 record and a state tournament appearance, the best finish since 2003…as a senior, passed for 1,751 yards with 15 touchdowns, also rushing for 965 yards and nine scores…was named the 2015 (Seattle) Metro 3A Offensive Player of the Year…also held offers from Montana State, Idaho State, Portland State.
OL | 6-2 | 305 | So. | Honolulu, Oahu | Saint Louis School
Mid-year transfer from UCLA who is currently enrolled at Hawai’i…earned playing time in eight games of the 2015 season as a true freshman for the Bruins along the offensive line, also playing defensive line and recording three tackles…a 2015 graduate of Saint Louis School in Honolulu, O’ahu, where he twice earned first-team all-state honors and was the Cover2 Olin Kreutz Award winner as the Lineman of the Year…rated as a four-star offensive line recruit, No 189 on the Scout 300 and First-Team Prep All-American by Scout…was selected to play in the Under Armour High School All-America Game…named to the PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team…ranked No. 69 in the nation by ESPN and earning the distinction as the No. 1 nationally ranked offensive guard by Scout…rated as a four-star recruit and the nation’s No. 3 center by 247sports, as well as a No. 5 center ranking from Rivals…also lettered in basketball and track for the Crusaders…due to NCAA transfer rules, will sit out the 2016 season and be eligible to play during the 2017 season.
DB | 5-11 | 170 | Fr. | Upland, Calif. | Upland High School/Mt. San Antonio College
A 2015 graduate from Upland High School in Upland, Calif., he attended Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. during the 2015-16 academic year, but did not play football…as a senior at UHS, he registered 41 tackles and three interceptions, while deflecting eight passes and forcing a fumble…earned second-team all-Baseline League honors…also ran the 100m and 200m sprints for the Upland track and field squad.