QB to join Warriors as walk-on

April 19th, 2014
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prater

Quarterback Eric Prater, who spent the past few years in the U.S. Army Airborne Special Forces, will be joining the Rainbow Warriors as a walk-on this summer.

Prater is 6-2 and about 210 pounds.

Prater, who is 23, will  have four years to play four UH seasons.

He was a pitcher at Lake Havasu (Wash.) High, with a fastball timed at 92 mph, before playing football as a senior.

He was on Northern Arizona's roster in 2010, but did not play in any games, before enlisting in the Army.

Prater has been attending spring practices as a spectator.

Here are his highlights: Prater video.

(C'mon, admit it, after that first throw you thought,  "Wow.")

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I ran into Alika Smith last night. His son Jalen is 6 feet 3. Jalen is in the eighth grade.

And the 2018 recruiting class begins to take shape …

Mililani O-lineman chooses UH

April 18th, 2014
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Mililani offensive lineman Jordan Agasiva is the first local prospect to commit to the Rainbow Warriors' 2015 recruiting class. He was named to the Division I all-state team in 2013. Here's what Agasiva's pledge means:

> Vitals: Agasiva is 6-4 and 280. Mililani coach Rod York said Agasiva did not relinquish a sack in 2013. York said, when needed, Agasiva has held a block for as long as 8 seconds.

> The love: "I think he's the best o-lineman in the state," York said.

> Intangibles: "When you look at his highlight tapes, right away you can tell what type of player he is," York said. "He's aggressive. He's physical. He finishes. He loves being an o-lineman."

> You be the judge: Agasiva videos

> Joint effort: Mililani actually falls in defensive coordinator Kevin Clune's recruiting area, but this was group recruiting that also involved o-line coach Chris Naeole, linebacker coach Kurt Gouveia, quarterback coach Jordan Wynn and d-line coach Lewis Powell. York said: "He believes in coach Chow."

> Roster impact: Agasiva will help boost a unit that will lose five seniors at the end of this coming season: Sean Shigematsu, Kody Afusia, Frank Loyd Jr., Dave Lefotu and David Griffin. Afusia and Lefotu have been with the No. 1 unit this spring. Tavita Eli, who signed in February, joins the Warriors in June. Gus Lavaka joins in January after completing a church mission.

Tight situation

April 17th, 2014
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Every scrimmage-like session last week, tight end Jordan Pu‘u-Robinson  caught a touchdown pass or made a sensational play. Twice, he made sensational plays on touchdown catches.

All of which the coaches kept mum.

Pu‘u-Robinson is smart, works hard and is well-liked. But similar to the silent treatment given to a pitcher throwing a no-hitter, nobody wanted to jinx his seemingly good health. Because of injuries, he had missed all or parts of 22 of 24 games since transferring from Washington State in August 2012.

Pu‘u-Robinson suffered a broken finger this week and is expected to need four weeks of rehabilitation. Spring training ends April 26. Pu‘u-Robinson's injury prompted Tui Unga to end his tryout at defensive end after one practice and return to tight end.

Still, the Warriors should be in good shape this summer at that position. Pu‘u-Robinson will be healthy. Harold Moleni, who recently became a father, has experience as a starter. Unga has played well there at times. Josh Long has recovered from injuries that forced him to redshirt in 2013. Justin Vele also can play tight end. And Dakota Torres joins the mix this summer.

 

X marks the spot for former Warrior

April 16th, 2014
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"Who knew I'd be going to Japan?" former UH defensive tackle Kaniela Tuipulotu marveled.

Tuipulotu signed with the Asahi Soft Drink Challengers to play in this fall's X League in Japan. He leaves next month. Former UH defensive lineman Saui Matagiese will be a teammate.

On playing for a beverage company, Tuipulotu mused: "Perfect. A match made in heaven."

Actually, Tuipulotu has cut out sweets and is adhering to a healthful diet. He dropped more than 50 pounds since his final game with the Warriors in 2011, and now weighs 255. His surgically repaired shoulder has long healed.

Tuipulotu also will leave behind an MMA career in which he was 2-0 as an amateur fighter. He said he went into that sport only to get "that rush again."

Tuipuloto said the X season runs from August through December. The company will pay for all his living expenses except food. He also will receive a $3,000 monthly stipend.

"That's more than a scholarship," he said. "I lived on a scholarship. I can make it happen again."

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Former Kealakehe coach Sam Papalii offers this update:

David Fangupo is enrolled at Cerritos JC. He lives with two former teammates from 2012 championship team — Giovanni Chanes-Rodrigues (6-1, 300) and Jerone Moeoge (6-2, 340). Fangupo is the No. 1 nose guard who also will be used as a short-yardage ball-carrier. Chanes-Rodrigues made the 2013 all-conference team. He has received 2015 scholarship as a center from UAB and North Texas. Moeoge is in the d-line rotation.

All's fair

April 15th, 2014
By

This spring, the UH coaches have kept to their promise of maintaining a relatively equal competition at quarterback.

Although Ikaika Woolsey, who was in the opening lineup for two games last year, has taken nearly all the first turns in quarterback drills, Jeremy Higgins has received an equal number of reps. Taylor Graham has been on a restricted snap count while he works toward full good health following surgery to his left (non-throwing) shoulder in December.

By sticking to a schedule in which the starter's job won't be named until after the first week of training camp, it allows the quarterbacks to focus on the expanded offense.

Chow said the quarterbacks, particularly Woolsey and Higgins — both compete in the drills in which the QB may be hit — are "getting better every day. That's what practice is for. If you want to challenge for the job, you can't sit back. You need to be aggressive. Both Ikaika and Jeremy are doing that."

Chow added: "We're trying to be fair. Whether that's the right thing to do or not, I don't know. Sometimes you don't give a guy enough reps. I tried that once before and it didn't work. At the end of the day, we tried to be fair, and we weren't fair to anybody. We'll see. We keep count, and we track the reps. So far, so good."

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The final two weeks of spring training should be interesting following yesterday's moves: Tui Unga from tight end to defensive line; Penitito Faalologo back to fullback.

The moves are designed to get both on the field quicker.