On June 13, Austyn Kauhi committed to Syracuse.
On Wednesday morning, the Kamehameha senior made it official and signed a letter of intent to play football for the Orange.
“I feel happy and relieved that everything is done and I can just focus on Syracuse and playing football,” said Kauhi, who was initially recruited by assistant coach Blair Cavanaugh, son of Syracuse offensive line coach — and former Hawaii assistant — Mike Cavanaugh.
They can expect a bit of a weathered-looking document when it is faxed to the East Coast.
“My mom (Shantel) was crying and then she wet the papers while she signed them,” Kauhi said. “My dad (Alexander) is excited, too. Everybody’s excited.”
Everybody as in the dozen or so family members who were at the Kauhi residence by 7 a.m., when he officially signed.
“Everyone woke up early to come and support me. They were forced to come. My grandma (Rayne Kauhi) told them to come,” he said. “I’m probably going to remember everyone coming out to support me and being there for me. I feel like it’s more official now and I’m locked in and ready to go.”
The 6-foot-5, 275-pound offensive lineman had offers from Navy and Hawaii before ‘Cuse came along. Then came offers from Idaho, San Jose State, Nevada, Central Michigan, San Diego State, Fresno State, UNLV and UCF.
It was a whirlwind of texts and mail in a short period of time while the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kauhi continued to work out and eventually took a closer look at the Syracuse campus.
“I was able to go up there Dec. 2-7. I went with my mom and we stayed at the Courtyard (By Marriott). We couldn’t go in anything. We just walked by and looked. I wished I could’ve went in. It was huge from the outside,” he said of school’s stadium. “I kind of wanted it to snow, but it was only snow on the ground, so I guess it was OK. It was an unofficial visit, just mom and I walking around the city for two days.”
They also flew to New York City for the rest of the trip. Now, Kauhi can focus all his energy on the remainder of high school.
“I want to finish what I started, complete my senior year, 13 years on the hill,” he said.
Kauhi thanked his coaches.
“Shout out to my O-line coach Nate Nam. He’s helped me to become an O-lineman. He taught me everything I know about O-line. Shout out to Coach Chev Lamoya. He’s my trainer,” Kauhi said. “And shout out to my mom and our family.”