Friday, June 5, 2015
Clarence T.C. Ching Field
University of Hawaii
Hosted by PIAA, the turnout has been incredibly large. So much so that the allotted 400 jerseys are out. Late signees were encouraged to bring their own jerseys in case. The registration lines were long for almost 90 minutes. I don’t have an itinerary yet, but more tents are going up and players are making their way to the makai bleachers.
Around 80 coaches from 36 colleges are here for the three-day event. Individual fee was around $300, though there were discounts for players who registered with their teams. It is an opportunity to get exposure to college coaches, probably the best in years. Back then, PIAA hosted a camp that included college coaches, including most of the Pac-12 Conference. Then things changed and the NCAA tightened up all that contact between college coaches and student-athletes.
I’m looking forward to seeing the talent here as well as meeting as many college coaches as possible. They are not permitted to discuss individual athletes, but it’ll be interesting nonetheless.
The days of Hawaii’s athletes being a secret are long gone. We’ve already got several juniors with double-digit scholarship offers, and dozens more with at least one. A sophomore, Tua Tagovailoa of Saint Louis, already has 14. A freshman, Rocky Savea of Kapolei, and an eighth grader, Tausili Fiatoa, of Laie Park, also have offers — both from Oregon State.
It’s a brave new world and this is just the start. There are still athletes wiling to relocate to the continent for more exposure and easier access to summer camps across the West Coast. But this is island time for college coaches and they won’t be in total vacation mode these next few days.
Coaches have been introduced. Former UH and Kaiser coach Rich Miano is the MC. He said some coaches will arrive tomorrow, including a few from Oregon.
Warmups are underway. Looks like they’ll stay on Ching Field tonight, but tomorrow, the campers will also be on the two adjoining grass practice fields. Coach Miano emphasized that this is about athleticism, footwork and attitude. They don’t want cheap shots, etc. “Great football players don’t play on the ground,” he told the campers.
Linemen have gone to the academic presentation in the dance studio. (The athletic department auditorium is under renovation.) Skill position players are in drills.