Prime Time, Nick Saban and Tausili Akana

Tausili Akana is a child of the North Shore, now and forevermore, even as he finishes his prep career away from the islands. Paul Honda/phonda@staradvertiser.com.

Deion Sanders and Nick Saban are a part of Tausili Akana’s life.

Not besties-level, but close enough to be on the wish lists of the two prominent college coaches.

Over the course of 2021-22 academic year, nine more scholarship offers have arrived in the hands of Akana. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound outside linebacker now has 42 offers as a junior. He is ranked No. 1 among linebackers in the class of 2023 by 247sports.com.


Deion Sanders, who has brought immense attention to Jackson State as its head coach, is the latest to board the train.

“The Jackson State offer was cool. I got to talk with coach ‘Prime Time’ Deion Sanders,” Akana said. “My dad is a big fan.”

Sitting in the office of Saban, though, was borderline epic.

“The Alabama offer is special. They really wanted my dad and I to visit campus and attend a football game in Tuscaloosa. As soon as my junior season came to an end, we flew out,” Akana said. “We got to tour the facilities, meet with coaches, participate in a photo shoot, watch a basketball game and experience game day in title town.”

Then, Akana met with Saban.

“The highlight of the trip was meeting with coach Saban in his office for 45 minutes. That’s where he extended the offer. He’s a very busy man, but he took time to meet with me and my dad to discuss Alabama football and how he sees me fitting into his program,” Akana said.

A visit with Alabama coach Nick Saban is one of the biggest highlights of Tausili Akana’s recruiting journey. Photo courtesy of Akana family.

The Hauula resident played at Kamehameha as a freshman, then went to Wasatch (Utah) when COVID-19 threatened to dissolve the 2020 fall season.

That worked wonders. Akana had four offers prior to that sophomore year. While Hawaii postponed and eventually cancelled football, the offers poured in as Akana had a stellar season in Utah.

He considered coming back and playing at home after attending Kahuku (online) during the spring. Instead, he transferred to Skyridge, one of the top programs in Utah, and had another standout season. Akana was named to the Utah 6A All-State team after recording 78 tackles, 15 sacks, 35 tackles for loss and 26 quarterback hurries.

Tausili Akana was once one of the little brothers of Braelyn and Keonilei Akana. Now, he’s a borderline celebrity with 42 football scholarship offers. Photo courtesy of Akana family.

“I appreciate every offer. It’s humbling talking with coaches and receiving a football offer. I don’t take any offer for granted,” Akana said. “Still so much work to be done.”


When he showed up at the Open Division state championship game between Kahuku and Saint Louis, there was a buzz.

“I loved watching my boys play for the state championship. I’m so proud of them and what they have accomplished. There is a lot of talent here in Hawaii. I always tell college coaches about the talent in Hawaii. They are special! It’s great to see them succeed in high school and at the next level,” Akana said.

Akana played multiple positions, including running back, as a sophomore at Wasatch. That provided an unforgettable video of Akana stiff-arming a potential tackler as he scored a touchdown. Watching Kahuku employ its best talent on both sides of the ball is something that would be alluring. Liona Lefau, one of Kahuku’s playmakers, had a lot of fun as a two-way contributor.

“Liona can play both sides of the football. He’s a vicious defender, but very talented at catching and scoring touchdowns. Liona can do it all. I’m so happy for him and his success,” Akana said.

His father, Brandyn Akana, coaches basketball at Kahuku, which is ranked No. 7 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10. A year ago, Tausili Akana sent a video to coaches of him dribbling from the wing and dunking, just for fun.

“I decided not to play basketball this season. I’m going to focus on football this offseason. I need to get ready for my final year of football. There are a lot of areas that I can improve on,” Akana said. “I need to get stronger and heavier at my position. Also, I need to improve my speed. The plan is to finish up this school year at Skyridge. I plan to graduate early in December.”

A high-flying 6-4, 225-pound athlete, practically a blur on the hardwood at Kahuku would have been a sight.

“Playing hoops for my dad at Kahuku has always been a dream of mine. It was a tough decision for me. Our family has had long conversations about this. My dad had to put on his dad hat instead of his basketball coaching hat,” Akana said. “He supports me focusing on football during this offseason. This will allow me to be ready for the next level.”

With that, Tausili Akana did what most teenagers would do on a sunny afternoon in the islands. He hit the beach.

“The beach has been great. The weather finally cleared and the sun is out. I’m loving it. Right now in Utah, it’s 20 degrees with snow,” Akana said. “I do miss home. If it wasn’t for COVID, I would have stayed and played high school football in Hawaii. I’m grateful for my family, for all their support. They have been amazing. it’s great to be home with my younger brother and two older sisters, and my extended family. I miss them a lot.”


His sisters, former All-State Fab 15 volleyball players at Kamehameha, have been busy. Oldest sister Braelyn Akana just finished her sophomore season as a outside hitter/middle blocker at Hawaii. Sister Keonilei Akana, a libero, completed her freshman season at Nebraska, which reached the NCAA championship match. Their mother, Joselyn (Robins) Akana, was a standout player at Hawaii.

Tausili Akana, Skyridge (Utah), OLB, 6-4, 225
Offers: 42
Utah 6/20/19
BYU 6/20/19
Hawaii 6/21/19
Arizona State 6/30/20
UNLV 8/27/20
Oregon State 9/8/20
Utah State 9/14/20
Nebraska 10/16/20
Oklahoma State 11/16/20
Oregon 12/21/20
Washington State 12/25/20
Ole Miss 3/3/21
Colorado 3/9/21
USC 3/17/21
Washington 4/23/21
LSU 4/29/21
Wisconsin 4/30/21
Arizona 5/1/21
Cal 5/11/21
Mississippi State 5/27/21
Texas 6/3/21
TCU 6/4/21
Texas A&M 6/5/21
Ohio State 6/9/21
Michigan 6/9/21
Pitt 6/10/21
San Diego State 6/11/21
Virginia 6/12/21
Oklahoma 7/13/21
Clemson 7/17/21
Georgia 7/26/21
Tennessee 7/27/21
Auburn 7/28/21
Miami 9/12/21
Penn State 11/11/21
Baylor 11/14/21
Texas Tech 11/18/21
Alabama 11/21/21
Michigan State 11/23/21
Nevada 12/31/21
UCLA 1/1/22
Jackson State 1/4/22

COMMENTS

  1. Eddie K January 7, 2022 6:02 pm

    Impressive. Kahuku’s 2022 Seniors may be the best “rooted” HS team in USA history. No wonder HBO did a document on it.


  2. HailFromDaNorth January 7, 2022 6:35 pm

    Come back home Tausili! A senior year capped with a state championship in Kahuku! You cannot beat! #AlwaysForeverRR4L


  3. mjthegoat99 January 8, 2022 11:15 am

    Congrats Akana family!


  4. ??? January 8, 2022 12:18 pm

    IMHO, I’m sure he would choose a HS State Football Championship Ring over 42 offers.
    You can have a thousand offers but in reality everybody knows they only have a couple Dream schools they are really interested in.
    Kahuku would LOVE to have you play your SR year with your BOY’S and perhaps be the Most Dominant defense in Hawai’i HS History. Good Luck, Go Big Red, Go Irish☘️


  5. Bu January 8, 2022 2:08 pm

    Come back and play for Kamehameha! Imua!!! Play for Kahuku and you’ll end up playing for BYU or Utah…..


  6. Pakelika January 8, 2022 8:11 pm

    Why do you-???-think that Tausili Akana would choose a HHSAA tournament championship over 42 full collegiate football scholarship offers at the NCAA FBS level? What makes you think that there is a choice between the two? He has 42 full scholarship offers, there is no choice to be made between having them or having a HHSAA tournament championship! They are two entirely different things that would never present anyone with a mutually exclusive choice to be made. What qualifies you to say with certainty what he would choose, even if he had to make a choice between the two, which he does not. In the long term, the college scholarship offers are much more valuable than a HHSAA tournament championship. If you don’t see that, you probably are not thinking in terms of his long term and holistic best interest.


  7. EA Productions January 8, 2022 8:19 pm

    Why are we writing a story of a kid who goes to school in the mainland. I get it, his family has great ties to Hawaii. But he is no longer here, so in essence no longer ours.

    Before Kahuku claims him, and if the pandemic wouldn’t have hit, he would have been more than likely graduating from Kamehameha. He was enrolled at Kamehameha before he left for Utah.


  8. ILH January 8, 2022 8:46 pm

    Saint Louis had the best Defense in State History in 2019, Nick Herbig and Bothelo who led the way.


  9. Paul Honda January 9, 2022 1:08 am

    Wow. You are splitting hairs on what “we” are and what I should be writing about now? He was enrolled at Kahuku last spring (online) before transferring to his current high school. He is not only from Hawaii, but is Native Hawaiian. How much more do you want from a student-athlete who has been featured in both Hawaii Prep World and the Star-Advertiser?

    So anybody who opts to play a football season away rather than sit home while an entire season is cancelled — they are VOID from any coverage in your book of rules.

    Stop it. “Great ties” doesn’t explain how deeply his family is rooted here. If you don’t like him, his family or the story, just move on. You’ll feel much, much better in a strangely absurd way, I guess.


  10. HBoy January 9, 2022 9:01 am

    Thank you Paul Honda for this article. Tausili is a great young man with a good head on his shoulders and a loving supportive family (and community) who cheers him on. There are too many trolls whose comments are to belittle others or make themselves feel “smart” with stats or language. I cheer for all local athletes no matter what school they rep because in the end, they repping the 808. Happy New Year and can’t wait for next season.


  11. EA January 9, 2022 6:06 pm

    @Paul Honda You are correct. I digress. Any article about our beloved hawaii teens should be seen as that. Thank you!


  12. mjthegoat99 January 9, 2022 7:29 pm

    Kahuku 2015 team also had one of the best defenses in state history. Holding STL and Tua Tagovailoa to only 14 pts while winning the state championship.

    DE Bradlee Anae 6′ 4″ 220 – Utah> NFL
    DL Samson Reed 6’3″ 230 – Virginia
    DL Aliki Vimahi 6’4″ 250 – Utah
    DL Noa Magalei 6’2″ 280 – Jr college

    LB Hirkley Latu 6’4″ 205 – BYU
    LB Manaia Atuaia 6’1″ 220 – Jr college
    LB Sioele Naupoto 6’1″ 225 – ??
    LB Pesa Lefau 5’10” 200 – ??

    DB/LB Codie Sauvao 5’11” 180 – Jr college
    DB Stokes Botelho 5’8″ 140 – South Oregon Univ
    DB Kekaula Kaniho 6’0″ 170 – Boise State
    DB Keala Santiago 6’0″ 185 – Hawaii

    —————————————-

    What does the 2019 STL defensive starters and their college destinations look like?


  13. Kalei K January 10, 2022 2:49 am

    EA Productions. Your comment exemplifies your ignorance! A couple things here…
    #1 great ties??? This is his home. He doesn’t have great ties here, he’s from here. His family-parents/siblings live HERE!
    #2 “before kahuku claims him”. I’m sorry do you live under a rock or is RR4L: Red Raiders 4 LIFE not self explanatory! It’s for life. We don’t cut you off from the family when you move to Utah to better yourself and your opportunities. Kahuku or Kamehameha. Wasatch or skyridge. He will be a RR4L. Based on your comments you really wouldn’t understand. We show love & support for our community no matter where life takes them. And when he goes to Alabama. Ohio state. Georgia. Tennessee. Washington. UCLA or any of the other 30+ programs that he’s had offers from he will still and always will be a RED RAIDER FOR LIFE!
    And finally stop being a hater and just appreciate a great story about a great kid- may I remind you you are talking about a kid here…
    Great article about an accomplished student athlete Paul Honda! Thank you for taking the time to give us stories and updates like this about all of Hawaii’s Ohana near and far!


  14. Hawaii's Finest January 10, 2022 8:25 am

    Ho’omaika’i Tausili and Akana Ohana!!!
    Props to his parents, as they have done a wonderful job. Both parents rocked the Green & White back in the day in High School; Brandyn is a Molokai Farmer and Joselyn is a Aiea Na Ali’i. Keep up the great work!!!


  15. Pakelika January 10, 2022 8:45 am

    If you-mj the goat 99-sincerely want to know the answer to your question concerning where the starting defenders on the 2019 HHSAA Open division tournament champions went after graduation, the information is available, why not take the initiative to make the effort to find out for yourself! Why should anyone respond to your bidding? It appears that you want to prove-somehow and at least in your own mind- who had the best defense in HHSAA Open division tournament history. It is an unanswerable question to answer with any objective, conclusive evidence and answer. Something that no one will know, a ripe topic for endless debate.


  16. Just Saying January 10, 2022 9:00 am

    I think EA Productions does have a point though. There are so many athletes that have remained in Hawaii and are doing very well. They have offers too. You’ve written at least 10 or more articles on Tausili. Whether he’s a great kid or not, seems like the ink could be distributed way more. Or, maybe you yourself can’t move on?


  17. GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT January 10, 2022 9:14 am

    EA get your facts right before posting LOL….and if you don’t understand like Paul said about how the family is tied to Hawaii you really shouldn’t post at all


  18. ILoveHawaii January 10, 2022 1:44 pm

    What grade was Tua that year?

    IDK. That 2019 Lulu defense was pretty TAP.


  19. Paul Honda January 10, 2022 3:04 pm

    Would you like me to count how many stories I’ve written about our great student-athletes in Hawaii the past year, or the past 31 years? Is it about math to you, or do you just not like reading about Tausili Akana? It’s optional. Feel free to read my other stories. You’ll like them.


  20. ??? January 10, 2022 3:35 pm

    #7 ILH
    Just read #10…… and that’s WITHOUT Recruiting.
    Nuff Said


  21. ??? January 10, 2022 3:44 pm

    #5 Kanaka
    I’m just saying if he doesn’t win a HS championship in the mainland he will regret not playing at his Sr year @ Kahuku.. JMO.
    On the other hand, he, like the rest of the student athletes only have a couple dream schools where they want to go, so if already has those; pretty positive he does; why does he need 50 other offers?
    Everybody knows he’s not going to Jackson State or Hawai’i so why does those offers matter? Name your Top 5 schools, comeback to Kahuku & be dominant…


  22. ??? January 10, 2022 4:23 pm

    Or Not


  23. Yeah right! January 10, 2022 9:09 pm

    His Dad is not crazy. He can’t toss around the local
    boys like he does the Utah boys. He comes home and he won’t look as dominant as everyone thinks. Watch him play an actual game. Not highlights, a whole game. His Dad was a recruiter in college for years. Knows what it takes to pump his son up. Be honest and watch a full game!

    Paul, stop justifying your writing. Everyone has an opinion and it’s ok. You da man brah!


  24. Paul Honda January 10, 2022 10:53 pm

    OK, granpa. You win.
    But there’s this: the game isn’t always about “tossing guys around.” In fact, speed kills more than ever. Edge rushers make bank.
    I’ll get off your lawn eventually.


  25. Pakelika January 11, 2022 10:50 am

    You-???- don’t know what is on the mind of Akana and the rest of the boys being recruited. Some may not have a dream school in mind that they have long wanted to play for. You think you know when the reality is that you don’t know. If you thought in terms of what the long term and all encompassing best interests of Akana and the other boys are, then you could see that having so many schools making an offer means that many more choices and opportunities to discover and explore information and opportunities-and not just having to do with football! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to receive a paid for college education and degree, and the more information and choices they can consider the better for them to increase their chance to find the right school with the best all around fit for them-academic, extracurricular, social, opening doors to future study, work and career opportunities, as well as a good athletic fit. It seems clear that you-???-are primarily concerned with what you want Akana to do so that he can help your team win a championship, rather than what seems best to Akana for his all around best interest.


  26. ??? January 11, 2022 1:40 pm

    #25 Lol.
    If you read my post, I say “JMO”.
    Like you, everybody has an opinion.
    We all know Tausili & his family will make the best choice they feel is right for him whatever that may be.
    P.S. I could care less who he plays for in his SR year or college but wish him luck.


  27. Pakelika January 13, 2022 12:32 pm

    Like other folks who like to be followers, imitators, and copy-cats, or are content to be what they think is cool or popular, ??? uses coded expressions-LOL, JMO- rather than plainly writing what ??? is trying to say. When you write on this forum, you are communicating your thoughts to others, not all will know what these shortcut codes mean, nor should they be expected to! You are not writing to yourself! Or are you? If someone does not know what JMO is, then it means that you have failed to communicate your thought. If you choose to use the shortcut way of using these alphabet codes, you should not expect to be understood by everyone, because not everyone uses them-hard to believe as that may be for you. Is this the style of writing that the Kahuku Intermediate and High School teaches?


  28. ??? January 16, 2022 8:43 am

    #27
    YOU, of all people shouldn’t be complaining about not everyone understanding my TWO acronyms that I used.
    You write a whole story in Hawaiian that .000001% of these readers understand, so, as you said, you are writing to YOURSELF because only you can understand yourself. JMHO, Lol, LMFAO, SMH etc….


  29. Pakelika January 18, 2022 12:32 pm

    To ???, Pa’a ka waha!


  30. Pakelika January 18, 2022 2:08 pm

    An acronym is a word formed from the first letters of a combination of words that refer to or describe something; JMHO, LMFAO, SMH are not words. Merely putting letters together in an attempt to write a phrase expeditiously as a form of shorthand writing rather than plainly writing the phrase out so that it is clearly understood does not result in creating an acronym if the letter combination is an inarticulate and unpronounceable sequence of letters that do not lend themselves to the formation of a word. Acronym examples are POTUS, SCOTUS, FLOTUS, NATO, SEATO; each is an acronym in the true and full sense of the term, a word that is readily and easily pronounced formed from the first letters of words that refer to or describe something. As for olelo Hawaii not being understood by anyone else on this forum except Pakelika, ??? should know and understand that olelo Hawaii is one of the two official languages in Hawaii, and is growing in awareness and usage, especially by aboriginal Hawaiian subjects of our lahui and country. Did you not learn this at the Kahuku Intermediate and High School? While it is a known fact that the Kahuku Intermediate and High School has been used to inculcate (brainwash) Kanaka and other Hawaiian subjects of the Hawaiian Kingdom into thinking that they are something (American) that they are not, great progress has been made in recent years to revitalize olelo Hawaii-including recognition of it as an official language in 1980-resulting in increasing awareness, usage, and popularity. Few people, even among Kanaka, used the words ohana, kupuna, malama aina, malama pono and other Hawaiian words and phrases in their daily lives and talk forty or more years ago. Now, even non Hawaiians use them. You-???-do not know what the percentage of people who read this forum are who are ma’a to and maopopo olelo Hawaii! You don’t even know how many people read this forum! As you have demonstrated previously, you are inclined to assert your assumptions as if they were facts, instead of being nothing more than opinions in personem. Pakelika will extend the benefit of doubt to ??? that ??? is a bona fide graduate of the Kahuku Intermediate and High School-perhaps many of ???’s community sincerely doubts that too, as it does not speak well of the school if ??? is in fact a graduate of the Kahuku Intermediate and High School. Aloha auwinala


  31. Bobby Latessa January 18, 2022 2:58 pm

    Lol very interesting reading all the comments. Paul Honda does a great job. There’s no debate about that.

    Tausili should sign with Alabama asap. There’s also no debate about that.


  32. Pakelika January 23, 2022 2:16 pm

    Herr Latessa, young Mr. Akana would be much more profoundly and better educated at Hillsdale College than at Alabama; only the football program at Alabama would be superior, in every other academic and educational sense and experience, Alabama is dramatically inferior!


  33. Pakelika January 23, 2022 4:55 pm

    will mjthegoat99 update the post high school destinations of the 2015 starting defense of the Kahuku Intermediate and High School football Ramblers(formerly known as the red skinned pirates) to reveal how many of them have been incarcerated, have become wanted fugitives from justice, are currently awaiting trial or sentencing, dropped out of school, are currently under criminal investigation, or have fled the country to seek asylum in North Korea, China, Yemen, Cuba, etc, et al?


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