Brothers Titus, Tama Mokiao-Atimalala staying busy during shutdown

Campbell's Titus Mokiao-Atimalala and brother Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala will play football at the next level. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

Long break, no problem, because brothers Titus and Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala have goals.

“We have lots of chores,” said Titus, a junior who collected his 14th and 15th football scholarship offers in the past week.

Oregon, then USC, contacted the 6-foot-1, 175-pound two-way athlete.

“I was kind of waiting on this. We talked for awhile now and I’m happy that they pulled the trigger. I know the USC coach was telling me that he was going to come down in the spring before all of this happened.”

As for the growing list of offers, Titus is much more relaxed than he was last summer. Back then, there were less than a handful. Then came one from the Pac-12, and a domino effect ensued. Eventually, an SEC program made an offer. He had 62 catches for 1,136 yards and 18 touchdowns in 11 games. He also had six interceptions while playing safety, returning two for TDs, along with two forced fumbles and one recovery.

Here’s how he sums up the offers.

Arizona State — “We visited there (in 2018) when we played Sandra Day O’Connor. It was pretty cool, a good experience. Very hot out there. They like to throw the ball a lot. They had a freshman (Jayden Daniels) slinging it this year. He was the truth. I think he made the (Freshman) All-American team, too. That’s nice to know.”

Cal — “I’m good with Coach (Burl) Toler, the wide receivers coach. We went over film. Keenan Allen. He showed us some of their guys. They sling it. He said he wanted to use me at slotback to where I can go all over the field, and also move me out wide when I have the single (coverage).”

Hawaii — “Pride rock. New coaches. We’re waiting for them to start up spring practice so we can check them out. I talked on the phone with some of the coaches. They’re all cool. I think their offense will be similar (to last year).”

Michigan — “I know they single out their receivers, somewhat even on running and throwing. They like to give their receivers one-on-ones. They run all kinds of routes. They like that deep ball. They love throwing it. They said I’ve got some speed so they want to use me. Roman (Wilson of Saint Louis) is there. They love the way he runs routes. All the conferences are kind of the same, I guess.”

Nebraska — “I have a good relationship with Coach (Scott) Frost. Their offense, they like to spread it out, too.”

Notre Dame — “As of right now, the coaches recruited me as an athlete. They said that I can play offense or defense, so I’m trying to figure that out, where they want me. I guess they like the way I play safety. They said it would be up to me when I get up there.”

Oregon — “They do throw a lot. They have Mycah Pittman there. He’s good. They spread it out. The facilities are nice to have, that’s a plus, but it’s really about the coaches and how they’re planning on using me.”

Oregon State — “I have a good relationship with Coach Legi (Suiaunoa). He always comes down and visits us. He’s a cool guy. He likes the way I play defense because he’s a defensive line coach, but he also told me that they know they need me on offense. They’re kind of a run-heavy team, but they like spreading it out with their wide receivers.”

Tennessee — “I was surprised. SEC. I was very happy. I was talking with the wide receivers coach and he said he loves the way I play. He said he needs a guy that’s explosive and willing to make plays with the ball in their hands. They spread it out, too.”

UCF — “We’ve got Dillon Gabriel (of Mililani) there, so that’s nice to know. He was telling me about the offense. He said that it’s a good offense. They spread it out evenly. They love throwing the ball. I love running deep routes, but if it’s short, I can make a play. For me, it doesn’t matter if I’m playing slot or wide receiver. I just want the ball in my hands.”

UCLA — “Coach Chip Kelly is super cool. We talked a couple times. The (position) coach (Jimmy Dougherty) wants me to visit him. He sent me some of the routes, so I was checking out their practices. They mix it up. They told me the spread the ball a lot.”

USC — “They kind of spread it evenly, I guess. I know they’ve got some good wide receivers, but they also love to run the ball with Vae (Malepeai of Mililani) there.”

Utah — “They actually said I could choose as a wide receiver or DB. I’m not sure where I want to go. With Utah, all their coaches are cool. They text me and send a lot of letters. I appreciate that.”

Washington State — “Coach Rolo (Nick Rolovich, formerly of Hawaii). They run the run and shoot. I was pretty excited knowing that they’re there. We already made a connection with them and I know how the offense is run. I believe they’ll do well.”

Wisconsin — “That’s a big school. They’re far, but I have a good connection with some of the coaches. They love me on both sides of the ball as well, but I told them I’d rather just take wide receiver. They’re cool about it.”

Tama (5-11, 185), also a two-way player, has gone up against his younger brother practically every day, rep after rep across the line of scrimmage. He believes Titus would succeed in four-wide or tight-end offenses.

“I think he’ll do good in both. The four-wide is bread and butter right there,” Tama said. “Most likely, he should go do his visits. Actually feel the environment and the atmosphere of the coaches and staff.”

Titus doesn’t plan to commit early.

“I told them I wouldn’t be committing until mid-season or after the season just because I want to focus on my senior season,” he said. “I believe all of the schools are great schools. They all have something to offer and I appreciate that.”

“It’s been great knowing that all the hard work has paid off,” Tama added. “Our parents, they work so hard. The sacrifices our family makes, we’re just grateful for everything. I’m glad that he’s becoming the man that he is. Everything that he does. His character, his demeanor, everything.”

Their success in the classroom and on the gridiron is a direct result of steady, consistent expectations. It may be spring break, and there is almost no place to go with the COVID-19 pandemic rearing its head. A spring break, extended, and the month after that — at a minimum — will be like nothing they have experienced before. Training with their friends away from Campbell is going to be their sole outlet.

“Unless we throw and catch on the street,” Titus said.

Parks, fields, beaches, gyms — all City and County facilities were declared off limits on Wednesday. For two brothers who live and breathe school and training, this is new ground.

“We’re home a lot now. We’re usually out with our friends having fun. It’s really serious, so we stay home, sanitize ourselves,” Tama said.

There is still no XBOX, no PS4 in the house. Dad banned consoles as the two oldest children began high school. The chores take a lot of time.

“We wash dishes, clean our rooms, clean the bathroom,” Titus said. “Every day. Tidy it up. A lot of soap.”

“A lot of Ajax,” Tama added.

They’re getting their workouts with Phase One. Tama stays in touch with the new coaches at Hawaii.

“The coaches text me and tell me to stay safe. I just keep training. They’re going to keep me updated on everything,” said Tama, who played receiver and defensive back as a senior.

For Titus, coming off another monster season as a wideout, there haven’t been many opportunities to work with quarterback Blane Hipa.

“He trains with Coach Kelii (Tilton). We can go out here on the street like this, throw the ball, catch the ball. Make sure his arm is good and my hands are still there,” Titus said. “We can’t really do much.”

That doesn’t mean the brothers and their teammates plan on endangering themselves by playing street football. But the desire is there. Perhaps more crucially, a new crop of pass catchers will get in sync with Hipa, one of the most promising young QBs in the state. Tama expects to help out at spring football if school resumes in time.

“I talk to everybody. They’ve got to work hard to be the best,” he said.

Without his older brother to square off with, Titus is expecting a variety of new experiences in daily practice. Especially with former All-State player Poki‘i Adkins-Kupukaa among the soon-to-be graduates.

“Tama knows me the best. I’m going to have to push myself. It’s going to be my senior year. I know my goals and I really want to do it big my last year. It’s more of me just helping out these younger guys, getting them all prepared,” Titus said. “They’re going to be the future of Campbell. I’m just looking out for all these younger guys and taking care of them. Making sure that they’re all in shape and keep their heads straight.”


  1. ILoveHawaii March 23, 2020 8:49 am

    Any updates if he has qualified yet??
    I know that this pandemic is making it even more difficult for those who havent qualified yet.
    No SAT or ACT testing. No discussion how the current school year will continue resulting in loss credits? endangering clearinghouse qualification.

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