While Marcus Mariota prepares for the NFL season in Tennessee, the Saint Louis graduate continues to help create connections back home.
Mariota’s Motiv8 Foundation is again the presenting sponsor for next month’s GPA Showcase Hawaii with the aim of giving local high school football players greater opportunity and exposure.
The sixth annual GPA Showcase Hawaii — featuring skills, lineman and special teams clinics — is set for June 5-6 at Kamehameha and offers players who might not be able to attend showcase events on the mainland a chance to run through drills and perform for college coaches in attendance.
“With Marcus doing this it has given (the showcase) new life,” co-director Rich Miano said of the Heisman Trophy winner and current Tennessee Titans quarterback. “I think he sees the need for clinics and camps like this because of our logistics.”
Miano noted that Mariota’s foundation also covers many of the expenses of the college coaches attending the camp, many from smaller colleges that may not otherwise have the recruiting budget to scout Hawaii.
“If it wasn’t for Marcus Mariota and the Motiv8 foundation, GPA football would no longer be in existence because there’s no way we can get these coaches to come here,” said Miano, who expects 40 to 70 college coaches to attend.
The Motiv8 Foundation also provides a scholarship to the camp for one player, selected by their coach, from each of the state’s 54 high schools with football programs. San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman and Punahou graduate DeForest Buckner is also providing 20 scholarships, 10 each to players from Nanakuli and Waianae.
The skills portion for quarterbacks, receivers, running backs, tight ends, linebackers and defensive backs will be run by Saint Louis coach Vince Passas, renowned locally as a “quarterback whisperer.”
The showcase will feature instruction in three separate clinics. Former University of Hawaii and NFL linemen Jesse Sapolu and Ma’a Tanuvasa will run the Men in the Trenches program for offensive and defensive linemen.
Miano said Sapolu has devised a scoring system for linemen “that a lot of people are trying to copy.”
“These young people, they want to compete, they want to know where they stand, they want to know their rankings,” Miano said. “They want to play 7-on-7, they want to go 1-on-1, they want to do competitive stuff.”
The showcase is bringing in coaches One On One Kicking from the mainland to run the specialists camp for kickers, punters and long snappers. Former UH kicker Eric Hannum, who coaches at Punahou, will also be one of the featured instructors.
“We bring in as many good coaches as we can because my feeling on that is very few of us can coach kickers, punters and long snappers. It’s such a specialty,” Miano said.
The camp will include classroom sessions for the players with local coaches invited to watch the sessions. There will also be a presentation for parents on navigating the recruiting and financial aid process.
The camp is open to incoming high school freshmen to current seniors. The cost of the camp is $179. A combination of the specialist camp with either the lineman or skills camps is $299.
Registration information is available at GPAShowcaseHawaii.com.