Saint Louis quarterback Jayden de Laura is biding his time.
He’ll be a junior this fall and has never taken a varsity snap, yet he has one college Division I offer with another on the way.
In addition, de Laura won the quarterback MVP at the GPA Football Showcase on Wednesday at Kamehameha’s Kunuiakea Stadium.
Things appear to be lining up. The Vinny Passas quarterback lineage for the Crusaders appears like it will continue seamlessly. Passas is the quarterbacks coach who has brought us some big, big names, including Marcus Mariota, Tua Tagovailoa and Timmy Chang, to name just a few.
But potential is the biggest thing for de Laura at this point, since he is 0-for-0 with 0 yards and 0 touchdowns.
“His potential is unlimited, his ceiling is real high, and he has so much upside,” Passas said after Wednesday’s camp. “His work ethic is pretty amazing. In conditioning and sprints, he’s always trying to be first. He comes from that Marcus Mariota and Chevan Cordeiro kind of mold. The only difference is he’s more of a vocal leader, rallying guys, encouraging them. Marcus and Chevan were real quiet and led by example. He’ll get on you if you are a teammate, and he’ll say (things like), ‘You’re better than that.’ He’s an accurate thrower, smart. And he’s also a double-digit (scoring) point guard in basketball. Our basketball team will definitely win at least one game this year with him in there.”
Passas then unleashed some news.
“(Cal coach) Marques Tuiasosopo just texted me and asked me if Jayden is going to the UH camp and said that if he was going that he would give him an offer there.”
So, the Bears of Cal — where Aaron Rodgers played QB — are interested in de Laura.
Passas also mentioned that de Laura recruited all of the players to go to a 7-on-7 tournament on the mainland. Those players come from Saint Louis and other schools, including Punahou and Kamehameha.
“That just tells you the kind of person he is … to go out and recruit a team,” Passas said.
De Laura is the nephew of former UH strength and conditioning coach Mel de Laura, who Jayden trains with.
“His uncle Mel did an amazing job,” Passas said. “Jayden has at least 15 pounds more muscle on him this year.”
Passes thinks de Laura has the potential to rank up there with all the top Saint Louis QBs.
“He can make plays, he just needs an opportunity to show his stuff,” the coach said. “He needs to prove it by winning a state championship. He won’t be considered a great one if he doesn’t win one.”
Darnell Arceneaux, one QB in that famous Saint Louis lineage, and Andrew Manley, who won a state title with Leilehua, spoke glowingly about de Laura.
“He’s a special kid,” said Arceneaux, who is the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Servite High in Anaheim, Calif. “The ball kind of pops out of his hands. He’s got that quarterback moxie already. I see it. He talks it. You can hear it, the confidence. He oozes that. He looks like he’s going to make plays with his feet, too. He’s an athletic quarterback who drives defensive coordinators crazy by escapin the pocket and making plays downfield. He has an intangible. You can make bad calls, but he can make an OC’s bad call look good. He’s that athletic.”
Arceneaux also said something that other coaches from the mainland are discovering more and more each year:
“The state of Hawaii is loaded with talent.”
Said Manley — the Leilehua OC — about de Laura: “He came out here, was first in line, jumped in and dropped a dime. If we corrected something, he would do it on the very next snap. He took the leader position, took the coaching and continued to make plays. He didn’t think he was better than anybody else and was willing to take the coaching.”
De Laura, who transferred after his freshman year at Damien, thinks about Cordeiro’s experience last year as a guide.
“I’m hoping for the best,” he said. “The big goal is to win another championship, play ball and just have fun, pretty much. Chevan proved everyone wrong. Everyone thought we weren’t going to have a quarterback. It’s time for me to do that, too. He fought through adversity great … the Kahuku game, the Mililani game, the Narbonne game. He never gave up. I still have more to improve on, watch more film and things might come more easier.”
Erickson doubles up on awards
Kahuku 6-foot-5 senior-to-be Ethan Erickson was the MVP of the tight ends/running back group. Originally from Alpine, Utah, and with the nickname “Alpine,” Erickson was also a member of the Kahuku Division I state basketball runner-up team.
“I absolutely love it,” said Erickson about his time on the North Shore since his stepfather transferred a few years ago to teach at Brigham Young-Hawaii. “I’m the only white guy on the football team and the only white guy on the basketball team, and it’s fun. Everybody is so loving and so open.”
Erickson, who also won the GPA punting award Tuesday, is looking forward to his senior year with the Red Raiders football team.
“We lost (quarterback) Sol-Jay (Maiava) … I love him … who went to the mainland, but we have Thorton (Alapa) and good receivers. He (Alapa) is as tough as nails, is a great athlete and he can do whatever you need him to do.”
The GPA Football Showcase award winners and MVPs from Wednesday are listed below.
>> MVP: Teriq Lacaden (Kapolei senior)
>> Also: Keanu Kekawa (Moanalua sophomore); Asher Pilanca (Mililani junior)
>> MVP: Jonah Henry (Punahou sophomore)
>> Also: Hoku Arias (Kamehameha senior); Kila Kamakawiwo’ole (Saint Louis senior)
>> MVP: Tupu Alualu (Moanalua senior)
>> Also: Patrick Peters (Kapaa senior); Clancy Wright Jr. (Molokai junior)
Running backs/tight ends
>> MVP: Ethan Erickson (Kahuku senior)
>> Also: Reino Bush (Kamehameha senior); Adonis Puou (Waianae junior)
>> MVP: Papu Ceruti (Campbell junior)
>> Also: Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala (Campbell sophomore); Duke Heffernan (Kahuku senior)
>> MVP: Jayden de Laura (Saint Louis junior)
>> Also: Thorton Alapa (Kahuku senior); Kahanu Davis (Kapaa junior)
>> MVP: Micah Soliai-Howlett (Kahuku junior)
>> Also: Marcus Lombard (Kahuku junior); Leif Ericson Fautanu (Pac-Five senior); Tamatoa Aga (McKinley senior); Hunter Mulu (Kaimuki senior)