La‘akea Kapoi has a good phone plan.
The Saint Louis junior is one of three returning starters on the offensive line and is penciled in at right tackle. Now 6 feet, 4 inches and 305 pounds, Kapoi has offers from Hawaii, Syracuse, UNLV and Arizona State on the table. Recruiters from Colorado, San Diego State, San Jose State and Utah are keeping his phone busy via text and social media.
“Those are the other schools that have been consistently contacting me,” Kapoi said.
The agility, strength and sheer mass of Saint Louis’ linemen has been a foundation. Intelligence is a common denominator. Kapoi has a 3.5 grade-point average. Left tackle Kalan Ellis, who committed to Syracuse last month, and right guard Jonah Savaiinaea are also in the honor-roll/O-line club.
That kind of potential is why college coaches have kept Kapoi’s phone lit.
“Yeah, it’s been crazy,” he said. “I just got to keep working and wait my turn.”
A year ago, Kapoi was 2 inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter. Brother Alema Kapoi plays for Hawaii and oldest brother Micah Kapoi is a graduate assistant at Wisconsin.
The second lockdown in the islands due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been tough for student-athletes. Kapoi makes the best of it in his family’s garage weight room. The bench press, dumbbells, bands get maximum usage.
“We bought it a long time ago. I don’t think I was born yet. My dad (Dean Kapoi) used it, then my brothers,” he said.
Kapoi’s max on the bench press has improved from 265 pounds earlier this year to 315. He has increased from 10 reps to 18 at 225 pounds. His max on the dead-lift is 450. His max on the squat is still 445.
“I don’t have a squat rack anymore,” he said. “It broke. It was getting old anyway.”
He has a penchant for TV shows like Chicago PD. His grandfather, the late Frank Su‘a, served 40 years in law enforcement and was commander of the HPD Narcotics/Vice Division before his death in 1997. Su‘a also coached youth football and softball.
His grandmother, Patricia Su‘a, was living on the Windward side through the first lockdown in the spring. Kapoi missed her and her cooking for months, but no more.
“She’s living with us now,” he said. “Every once in a while, she makes her beef stew for me.”
Top 3 TV shows
1. Chicago PD.
2. Law & Order.
Top 3 movies
1. Blind Side.
3. Remember the Titans.
Top 3 food/snacks
1. Corned beef. “I make my own. I eat that with rice. That’s pretty good right there.”
2. Pop-Tarts (blueberry and S’mores). “I toast it.”
3. Beef stew made by grandma.
Top 3 music artists
1. Lil Baby.
2. NBA Youngboy.
Top 3 Video Games
1. Madden. “I use Eagles, but I’m not really that good.”
2. NBA2K. “I have never beaten Jonah. He’s good at everything he plays. He’s a game maniac.”
3. Fortnite. “I play a little. I’m not that into it. I just play it when there’s nothing to do.”