Oregon noticed a young man from Hawaii playing football in cold Heber City, Utah, and decided to make a life-altering offer.
Kamehameha/Wasatch sophomore Tausili Akana is stoked about all 10 of his football scholarship offers. Something about this opportunity with the Ducks has a different vibe from the speedy 6-foot-4, 210-pound outside linebacker/running back.
“I’m definitely blessed and excited about this offer. I have been in contact with them, but it was still as surprise,” Akana said on Monday before flying back to the islands. “Oregon is one of the best football programs on the West Coast. They have a lot of Polynesian players. I also have cousins on the team.”
Oregon just stunned USC over the weekend in a huge matchup.
“They are also back-to-back Pac-12 champs,” Akana noted.
It was a thrilling weekend for the Akana family. Cousin Jarrin Kalama, who transferred from Mililani to play with Tausili at Wasatch, earned a scholarship offer from BYU.
Tausili Akana’s first offers were from another Pac-12 school, Utah, and BYU on June 20, 2019. Hawaii followed suit one day later. Since then, the list grew: Arizona State, UNLV, Oregon State, Utah State, Nebraska and Oklahoma State followed. Nebraska is where older sister Keonilei is playing her freshman season of volleyball.
Oregon’s flash and success has impacted a generation of fans and future Ducks. The alma mater of Marcus Mariota also has state-of-the-art facilities.
“They are a top Nike school, so they get a lot of cool and up-to-date gear. I like a lot of their uniforms, helmets and equipment. Also, their facilities are amazing. All of that together makes a good program,” Akana said.
The Ducks plan to keep Akana on defense, though he had a few memorable moments carrying the pigskin for Wasatch.
“They love my size, speed and length. They see me playing the outside linebacker or defensive end positions. They will be monitoring my body and see how it develops in the next couple of years. I like playing both those positions, so that’s exciting for me,” he said.
After transferring to Wasatch, located in chilly Heber City — 21 degrees warm overnight — Akana acclimated quickly and became a standout player for the Wasps. They reached the semifinal round of the 5A state championships, the second-highest tier in the Beehive State. His Christmas wish, however, never changed.
Akana stuck with the plan and transferred back to Kamehameha for the spring semester. He will not be eligible to play football for the Warriors, assuming there is a season in the spring. The move to Utah gave Akana more game film to share with recruiters. Six of his offers came after he suited up as No. 45 for the school next to the majestic Wasatch Mountain Range.
Home, however, is still home. Hauula, to be exact.
“I want to be with my ohana. I spent the last five months playing football in Utah. It will be nice being back in Hauula town with my family. Both of my sisters, Braelyn and Keonilei, will be back home from college, so we will all be together. I look forward to seeing all my friends and family again,” he said.
Aside from rest days, there won’t be any days off for Akana.
“I’m looking forward to getting better and better on the football field. Still have a lot of work to do, to improve. Need to get stronger and quicker. I will get back in the weight room with Uncle Stu Carvalho and back to training with Kawe Johnson,” Akana said.
“I got all my schoolwork and finals done at Wasatch. I will miss it, but I’m really excited to be back home. I will miss my teammates, coaches and friends, especially Uncle Stanton and Auntie Joleen (Akana), and cousin Brandee. They took good care of me and my cousins,” he said. “I enjoyed myself in Utah.”
Tausili’s Christmas wish:
“My greatest wish for Christmas is to be with all my family and friends. I just got back to Hawaii (on Tuesday). It is great to be back home with family and 85-degree weather.”
Tausili Akana, Kamehameha/Wasatch, OLB, 6-4, 210
Arizona State 6/30/20
Oregon State 9/8/20
Utah State 9/14/20
Oklahoma State 11/16/20