In Friday’s Q&A post with Ikei, he had some sage advice for this year’s campers at the GPA Foootball College Showcase: don’t be afraid to ask questions, introduce yourself to college coaches, jump into line for drills.
In some cases, there is no hesitation by players. Alama Uluave, a junior (to be) offensive lineman at Punahou, found that out in his first camp last summer.
“It’s competitive. I didn’t realize how much people fight for reps,” said Uluave, younger brother of former Punahou all-state offensive lineman Semisi Uluave. “It was scary last year. I just took my turn. I should’ve stepped up more, though.”
Farrington was among the schools with a substantial turnout. Among the Governors were explosive running back Challen Faamatau, fullback/linebacker Freedom Alualu and safety Sefo Noga, a transfer from Saint Louis. Faamatau was a dynamic weapon as a junior last season, a standout playmaker as rusher, pass receiver and returner. He had basic advice for his teammate, Alualu, who is attending his first camp.
“Don’t take it lightly. Show the coaches what you’ve got. In the offseason, we’ve been training, so now we can show the college coaches what we’ve got,” said, who is 5-foot-11 and 204 pounds.
“I lost about 22 pounds,” said Alualu, a 5-9, 245-pound wrecking ball.
Both are looking forward to finally practicing on the mint-condition synthetic field on campus — next week.
“Last year was a year to learn and progress, but now I know not to be shame. Take the reps. If someone doesn’t want to go, go in front,” Faamatau said.
Also on hand are brothers Rocky Savea and Ezra Savea. Just a month ago, they were both in Utah, preparing to attend Orem High School. But their grandmother had health issues, and the family returned to Oahu for good. They’re both becoming veterans of offseason events like this.
“You’ve got to make the first move. (Coaches) don’t want to always be the first to talk to guys,” said Rocky Savea, who will be a junior linebacker at Kapolei. “They like the guys who talk to them. The guys who put in effort, if you mess up, go again. Don’t be shame. Everybody’s competing.”
He received his first scholarship offer as a freshman. Ezra Savea, now 6-4 and 200 pounds, is prepared to play defensive back, wide receiver, quarterback and return kicks. He was enrolled at Orem, situated and living with an aunt before everything changed.
“It was a great experience up there, seeing all those colleges. They showed me what it takes,” Ezra Savea said.
The Savea brothers weren’t on their own. There were several cousins at the check-in on Friday afternoon.
“Last year, I was a little shy,” said Saint Louis sophomore outside linebacker Emmit Vaiese (5-11, 205). “This year, I’m more confident. In training with Chad Ikei, I’ve been lifting and staying in shape, working on my footwork.”
Vaiese has a 3.6 grade-point average.
“Hopefully, I get exposure and get my name out there,” he said.
Another cousin of the Saveas, sophomore defensive end Isaiah Filisi (6-3, 250), also learned from his experience in 2015.
“Last year, I wasn’t talking to any coaches, but now I am. That’s a big thing. If you don’t talk to coaches, you won’t get noticed. You have to get involved.”
Filisi, another Saint Louis Crusader, knows the early-morning bus route from Waipahu to Saint Louis quite well. He saw some time as a tight end as a seventh grader in the Waipahu Marauders youth football program.
“But I like defensive end better. I can hit people,” he said.
Another Savea cousin, Treven Maae (6-3, 195) is at his first camp. He’s a sophomore at Kapolei.
“Everybody said work hard and keep my head up,” he said. “Don’t worry about other people.”
The sight of more than 500 players on the field on Friday night was stunning. One linebackers coach said there were 100 players at the position. The quarterbacks were split into four groups of a dozen each. Organized chaos for the players, but a huge opportunity for visiting college coaches. And vice-versa.