(9:30 p.m. Updated with quotes from Jaisen Sanchez.)
At 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, it wasn’t hard to find Jaisen Sanchez on the football field.
The senior cornerback’s stellar season was icing on the cake for recruiters. Colorado liked him back in the summer, when Sanchez participated in the All-Poly Camp. The Buffaloes offered him a scholarship then, and Sanchez reciprocated this week by orally committing to play for CU.
“I’m 100 percent committed to Colorado,” Sanchez said on Wednesday night. “They’re telling me they really need depth at cornerback. I can come in and compete. They run some dime and nickel packages, so I can learn and adjust. I think their program is on the rise.”
Sanchez turned down an offer from Hawaii. BYU had shown a lot of interest. Colorado is the college home of another former Crusader, defensive lineman Juda Parker, though he hasn’t been involved with recruiting Sanchez.
The tall corner got the offer from Colorado two weeks after returning home from the All-Poly Camp.
“Right off the bat, the coaches from Colorado noticed him and they liked his size,” Saint Louis coach Matt Wright said.
Sanchez is the third Crusader to commit to a college this season. Safety Jacob Lacaden (Nevada) and wide receiver/returner Devan Stubblefield (Hawaii) were the previous commits.
Washington State has an offer to running back Adam Noga. UH is showing interest in offensive lineman Louis Vailopa.
In addition to All-Poly, Wright also took players to summer camps at Arizona State and UCLA. Back in February, the Crusaders went to a prominent 7-on-7 tournament in Las Vegas.
“Recruiting is changing. You’ve got to be more proactive as a coach and as a team, and expose your players to the best competition out there,” he said. “Hawaii football is known to be about tough-nosed players, top players at linebacker, defensive line and offensive line, but cornerback. How do you bridge that gap? You’ve got to develop speed at a young age with proper running techniques.
Sanchez was an ILH 200-meter sprint champion in the spring.
For now, the rest time since the end of the ILH football season has been nice. Next week, players like Sanchez who have been invited to play in the HUB Goodwill Senior Game will start practicing.
Playing for the East, he’ll get a chance to face one of his nemeses. Punahou quarterback Larry Tuileta, who will play in Saturday’s Division I state-championship game, is expected to suit up for the West in the HUB game one week later.
“He’s just a smart quarterback and he has a good back-shoulder throw. He audibles and he’s ahead of the game,” Sanchez said, ranking Tuileta as one of the two best passers he faced in high school.
The other is Anu Solomon of Bishop Gorman, which held on to beat Saint Louis in 2012 in a wild 52-40 game at Aloha Stadium.
“He can scramble and his receivers adjust their routes while he’s scrambling,” Sanchez recalled.
He’ll get plenty of chances to face Solomon again in the near future. Solomon is now playing for another Pac-12 school, Arizona.
The two toughest wide receivers in Sanchez’s book: teammate Devan Stubblefield and Punahou junior Kanawai Noa.
“(Noa) has good hands, solid hands and he’s a deep threat. He’s smart, too. He and Tuileta have a good connection with each other so it’s hard to stop him all the time,” Sanchez said.
Battling Stubblefield, who committed to UH for football and baseball, on a daily basis was special.
“He made me get better each day. He’s one of the best receivers and we always compete. I try to mix up (defensive tactics) with him,” Sanchez said. “Tuileta and Devan will be a hard combo to stop (at UH).”
Sanchez added that he thinks “UH is a great school,” but it was simply time to pursue a dream of playing away.
“I feel relieved,” he said. “Now I know where I”m going to be the next four years.”