Kahuku offensive lineman Enokk Vimahi signed to play with Ohio State on Wednesday morning at the Red Raiders’ gym.
Prior to Wednesday, Vimahi — who had 27 offers — had his choice whittled down to the Buckeyes, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Southern California. He is the first Hawaii recruit to choose Ohio State in recent years.
“We have a saying here, be uncommon,” said Enokk’s father, David Vimahi, an assistant coach at Kahuku. “He could have definitely gone to other schools that may have had a Polynesian pipeline, but he told us he felt comfortable in any environment, regardless of race, color or creed. He liked the idea of academics as well as the football experience Ohio State could provide.
“There was definitely a spiritual aspect to it. In the end, he had confirmation that Ohio State was the right place for him.”
Enokk Vimahi said the Buckeyes coaches told him that they’re looking at him as a guard and tackle.
“Get in there and bulk up a little bit and be able to maintain at guard and if they think I show enough athleticism, then I could become a tackle,” he said.
“I felt like Ohio State had the whole package, both on the field performance and off the field. From an educational standpoint, they guarantee you a carer. There’s a program Urban Meyer (the outgoing Ohio State coach) set up, where they give you experience in your job field with internships and building relationships, and not just in Columbus, but national and international. Some people are going overseas. Ohio State gave me the best set-up for my future.”
In addition, Vimahi hopes he can influence others that going to a place like Ohio State is possible.
“It may give some other players who are iffy about going East or going to the mainland in general the idea that a boy from a small school from the middle of nowhere in Hawaii can make it big. I still gotta get in there and grind and make sure we get in contention for the natty (national championship) next year.
“I made the decision, keeping God in perspective in it and with wise counsel by my parents. I am grateful to have parents that allowed me to make the choice by myself no matter what.”
Vimahi’s choice of Ohio State is a breakthrough for Hawaii, much the same way Manti Te’o opened the door for Hawaii players going to Notre Dame.
“We’re thinking something similar to that,” David Vimahi said, “with Enokk as a spokesman for the islands out there at Ohio State.”
Smiling Red Raiders head coach Sterling Carvalho talked about the player the Buckeyes are getting.
“He’s a very humble kid,” Carvalho said. “Well-mannered, coachable, very respectful. He’s somebody that’s going to come in there, be respectful to the coaching staff and do all that is asked of him and more. They got a very good person.”