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June 21, 2005
Aloha to talent
Many people only think of one thing when they think of Hawaii - vacation. But for college coaches that recruit the territory, they know the Islands are much more than that. Hawaii is one of the most forgotten recruiting territories in the nation, but it's often one of the most talented concentrations of talent you'll find. Head-hunting linebackers, surprisingly good quarterbacks and massive offensive linemen always seem to be the norm and this season is no exception.
Massive offensive lineman Micah Kia is ranked as the No. 1 player in the preseason Rivals.com Hawaii Top 15. The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder already has scholarship offers from many of the top programs that traditionally recruit the area.
With offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Hawaii and others, Kia is one of the best linemen in the nation and the state's best. But he's one of many blue-chippers.
Tight end Dylan Rush of Kona Konawaena is a 6-foot-2, 224-pound blocking machine that is already committed to UCLA. Bruin assistant Dino Babers snagged an early commitment from Rush, who ranks right behind Kia as the No. 2 player in Hawaii.
"Dylan anchored our defensive line and anchored our offensive line for us," Konawaena coach Todd Brown said. "We run the Wing-T offense, and 80 percent of what we did was geared around his blocking."
The last blue-chip quarterback to come from Hawaii was Timmy Chang, and he re-wrote many of college football's passing records while playing for the Warriors. The state's No. 3 player is a southpaw quarterback that is also getting plenty of attention, too.
Kiran Kepo'o is from Honolulu Ialani and the 6-foot-2, 220-pound quarterback has early interest from Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State and Washington. With his size and 4.65-second time in the 40-yard dash, he could also end up playing another position in college because he's such a good athlete.
The head-hunting linebacker in the class of 2006 from Hawaii is Honolulu Kamehameha standout Mana Lolotai. The 6-foot, 216-pounder impressed this spring at the Los Angeles NIKE Camp and has already picked up offers from Colorado and Oregon State.