‘Iolani offensive lineman Josh Hauani’o joined the ever-growing list of local football players that will stay home for college when he committed to the University of Hawaii on Tuesday night.
Hauani’o, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound senior, was offered by Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich on Monday and took 24 hours to mull over a decision before letting the coaching staff know of his commitment.
Hauani’o also had offers to play at Army, Western New Mexico and Northern Arizona.
“UH has been on my radar for awhile. I went to the (home games) during the (2007) championship season and always thought that if I ever did want to play college football that UH would be the best fit for me,” Hauani’o said. “I took a day (after the offer) to think about it and talked it over with my family and we both thought that UH would be best route for me as far as football and academics.”
Hauani’o has known UH offensive line coach Chris Naeole for a long time. Naeole coached Hauani’o during his intermediate playing days and had a big influence on Hau’anio’s decision.
“I used to always be taught by (Naeole) and I have crazy stories from him teaching me all of these techniques and to see him on the field (coaching) at UH was kind of like a shock,” Hauani’o said. “He was an influence on me because through his background, 13-plus years in the NFL, that’s enough to hold firm any college football recruit, especially an offensive lineman, on going to his school and that’s just how I feel. I’ve never felt more destined about playing for a coach.”
Hauani’o had also been in touch with Rolovich while the UH head coach was still at Nevada. He had never heard of the term ‘pride rock’ until after his first meeting with Rolovich once he took the UH job.
“Honestly, that was the first time I found out about ‘pride rock’ and after a while, you started seeing the hashtag ‘defending pride rock,’ ” Hauani’o said. “I honestly think that (coach Rolovich) can make this into a really big thing and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Hauani’o, who was named to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser all-state third team last month, is the second recruit from Hawaii to commit to the Rainbow Warriors this week. Kahuku’s Keala Santiago, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser defensive player of the year, committed to UH on Monday.
UH has also received commitments from Mililani’s Kalakaua Timoteo and Leilehua’s Netane Muti.