By Stephen Tsai
It is an emotional time when a member of a football family decides to go to the Mainland.
It will be particularly heart-tugging for cornerback Mike Sellers, whose mother, step-father and 8-year brother are planning to move to Virginia in September. Sellers' step-father is in the Army, and he has exhausted his stints in Hawaii.
"I hope they'll come and visit," said Sellers, who has lived in Hawaii since 2000. He had moved here when his mother and step-father — both in the Army — received transfers.
Sellers attended Shafter Elementary, Moanalua Middle School and, after his family bought a house in Ewa Beach, Campbell High. After his mother retired, his step-father had tours of duty three times in the Middle East.
"The first time was the hardest," Sellers said. "That was when it was the most violent. We really couldn't contact him or anything. The second time he had a little bit more freedom. … The first two times, he actually lost some soldiers."
His step-father returned from Iraq last week.
Sellers said he eventually will stay with his older brother, who lives in Red Hill.
Sellers said he attended UH's Junior Day in 2009. Later, he signed up for a series of speed and quickness clinics on the UH campus. Helped partly by a video produced by Campbell coach Wes Pacheco, Sellers drew attention from the Warriors, who made a gray-shirt offer. Sellers was a part-time UH student during the 2010 fall semester, then joined the Warriors on scholarship in January.
"I think it's a surreal experience," he said. "When you're in high school, you're like, 'I'm going to play college ball.' You never realize what you're going to do until it happens. When it happened, I was excited to come out here and be a part of the team."
Sellers made a significant impression during spring training to be considered a contender at quarter, a linebacker/safety position in the Warriors' nickel defense.
He also has earned recognition from UH head coach Greg McMackin, who used to refer to Sellers only by his surname.
"I took it in stride," Sellers said. "It kind of motivated me to let my play do the talking. I kept trying to do that. One day, he came up to me, and we started talking, really getting to know me. Ever since then, he knows me on a first-name basis."