Kapaa’s Kawika Rogers to spread his wings at Oregon

Kapaa offensive lineman Kawika Rogers looked on during the first half of Thursday's Division II state final against Kamehameha-Maui. Photo by Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser.

Long before Kawika Rogers was blowing up defenders at the Division II state championships, he was on the radar of a few FBS football programs.

Arizona State, Fresno State and UNLV took a liking to Kapaa’s 6-foot-6, 310-pound tackle. Later, Boise State and a green-tinted university in Eugene, Ore., also came forward with interest in the two-sport scholar-athlete.

Oregon was on Rogers immediately after Kapaa overpowered Kamehameha-Maui in the D-II state final.

“The coach from UH, coach (A’Lique) Terry, he left UH to go coach at Oregon. Before he left, I said, respectfully, I don’t want to stay home in Hawaii. I want to spread my wings,” Rogers recalled.

By the end of 2021, Terry was on staff at Oregon.

“Coach Terry said, ‘How do you like playing for the Ducks?’ I said I didn’t get an offer from them. He put down the phone and put the head coach on, Dan Lanning, and he said, ‘Hi Kawika, we’re really interested in you. We’ve seen your film and it looked amazing.’”

Lanning, formerly the defensive coordinator at Georgia, is in his first year at Oregon.

Oregon invited him and his parents, Malia and Solomon, for a visit on the weekend of Jan. 13.

“We looked at every nook and cranny, and the academics. Also, the coaching staff is amazing. They treated me like family,” Rogers said.

Rogers committed on Jan. 17, shortly after completing the visit. Everything about the Ducks seems to be a perfect fit.

“They said they’re going to play me at right tackle. They normally run a pistol formation with a lot of stretch. That’s my specialty. I love running outside,” he said.

Kapaa coach Mike Tresler, a former Hawaii defensive back, is stoked for his players. In addition to Rogers, junior linebacker/running back Solomone Malafu received an offer from Arizona State recently.

“Oregon and Arizona State are two great programs with outstanding coaches. We are fortunate to have the opportunity and exposure for these kids. We will certainly continue to foster those relationships in hopes that other student-athletes get similar opportunities,” Tresler said. “Special thanks to coach Terry at Oregon. I’m very excited for these two young men!”

The measurables tilt in Rogers’ favor. The football-volleyball athlete ran a 5.13 laser-timed 40-yard dash at a combine in Nevada last year. He has a squat max of 550 pounds and bench press max of 335. He has 11 reps at 225 pounds plus a vertical leap of 25.5 inches.

His first time on the squat rack, as a freshman, he maxed at 315 pounds.

“I love squats. It’s my favorite,” he said.

Rogers will have some of the finest training facilities in the world when he arrives on campus in Eugene soon. The academics will be elite, as well. He has a 3.7 grade-point average, including a 4.0 during his junior and senior years.

“They said out of the offensive line, they’re only giving three scholarships.

“Before I went to Oregon I wanted to major in Environmental Engineering, but they only have Bio Engineering. I’m going to major in Criminal Justice and minor in Journalism,” he said.

Kawika Rogers’ lockdown staples

Top 3 movies/shows

1. “Back to the Future”

“All of them.”

2. “Transformers”

3. “Ninja Turtles”

Top 3 food/snack/drink

1. Burgers

2. Gatorade

3. Chips

Top 3 music artists

1. Mr. Glock

2. 2Pac (and old rap)

3. Island Roots

Favorite class and teacher

“Weight training with Mr. (Ryan) Harper.”

GPA: 3.7

Funniest teammate: Keanu Ebesu

Smartest teamamte: Tyrus Alao

Teammate most likely to become a coach: Maximus Merseburg

New life skill

“I have a life skill of teamwork and leadership.”

Hidden talent

“I can surf and bodyboard.”

Bucket list

“The only thing I have is to make Kauai and my family proud by going to the NFL.”

Time machine

“I would go back to when I could have my grandma (Lucille Kakalia) back. I was always so mean to her and would never listen to her. If I could have her back I would change everything. Don’t take what you have for granted. Love every moment of it because before you know it, it’ll be gone.”

Shout outs

“First of all, I would like to shout out my mom and dad and my family. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would also like to thank coach Mack (Ryan McKeague) and coach Mike (Tresler) for helping me throughout my high school years, and my football brothers for pushing me to be the best I can be. I can’t forget the man above. He made all this possible. I really want to shout out my boy, (left tackle) Max Merseberg and (center) Santana Hernandez-Martinez. They’re good seniors. I’m trying to get their name out there.”


  1. Iliahi January 28, 2022 9:30 am


  2. ??? January 28, 2022 12:57 pm

    UH needs to stay on this kid every day, maybe he’ll flip on signing day!
    Paul , when are you going to add the 2021 All-Star teams to the Hawai’i Prep All-Star page?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiprepworld@staradvertiser.com.