For a brief moment, it seemed that Punahou’s Miki Suguturaga was about to pull a shocker.
Before the National Letter of Intent Signing Day festivities at the Sheraton Waikiki, each athlete who was present had a name card with their respective college choices. Suguturaga’s card had a University of Hawaii logo in the center of it, but it proved too good to be true for fans of the Rainbow Warriors.
The senior defensive lineman instead opted for the more probable choice in Utah, though it wasn’t an easy one for him.
“I didn’t decide until this morning. I emailed the schools I was considering, so they just put UH up there I guess,” Suguturaga said of the misunderstanding.
Suguturaga had 14 scholarship offers and named Virginia, Washington State, Vanderbilt and Hawaii as his other finalists before choosing the Utes.
Suguturaga was sold on the fact that the coaches there told him that the Utes have a similar defensive scheme to Punahou’s, with multiple 3-4 and 4-3 sets. He also has family ties to Salt Lake.
“My Uncle played for them back when they were in the WAC. He’s a big influence on me. Not just them but my older cousins, Filipo Mokofisi and Malakai Mokofisi. They both played for (Utah) and it’s cool to see that I’m going to continue that as well,” Suguturaga said.
As challenging as the decision was, Suguturata is confident he made a good one for himself.
“The other schools felt welcoming as well but I just felt like I would fit best there,” he said. “It was kind of over the long weekend, kind of deciding and seeing where I would fit best but I put a lot of thought and prayer into it.”
Suguturaga was part of a huge signing class from Hawaii for Utah, which also landed Kahuku DL Aliki Vimahi and Kapaa OL Morris Unutoa. Mililani alum Jordan Agasiva, who played the past two seasons at Pima Community College in Arizona, also signed with the Utes.