Punahou’s Alaka’i Gilman takes ‘education first’ idea to college at Stanford

Punahou's Alaka’i Gilman (31) participated in a drill during Polynesian Bowl practice on Wednesday. Photo by Andrew Lee/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Alaka’i Gilman‘s father teaches student-athletes about leadership and the value of an education as a director of an organization called Education 1st Hawaii.

A standout Punahou safety, Alaka’i has obviously learned some things from pops, Asai Gilman. He’s going to Stanford — one of the top academic universities in the country — to continue his education and his football playing career.

“It was a big decision. College is a big decision for all of us here,” Alaka’i Gilman said after Wednesday’s practice for Saturday’s Polynesian Bowl high school all-star game at 7 p.m. at Aloha Stadium. “It fit me most to go to a school like Stanford because the opportunity you have is for a lifetime. They always say it’s not a four-year commitment, but that it’s a lifetime commitment. That is super intriguing for me and I think that it’s important for me as an individual, not me as a football player, because football will end one day.”


Gilman’s brother, Alohi Gilman, has already made a name for himself in football. Alohi, a former Kahuku safety, declared for the NFL Draft with a year of eligibility remaining at Notre Dame.

“He’s doing good,” Alaka’i said about Alohi. “He finished his degree, that’s the most important thing, and he’s out in Texas training for the (NFL) draft and combine and stuff like that.”

Alaka’i wants to arrive at Stanford and immediately pursue a starting spot.


“You want to come in and play right away and dominate everybody,” he said. “That’s where I’m at. They see me as a true safety playing in their scheme — as free, strong or even nickel.”

The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder is enjoying his time leading up to his final high school game, which will be televised on CBS Sports Network.


“It was nice to see everybody, especially meeting the guys from the mainland and meeting some of the other guys who are going to Stanford,” Gilman said.

Three other Polynesian Bowl players are headed to play for the Cardinal in the fall — offensive linemen Drake Metcalf (St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif.) and Levi Rogers (Woodinville High, Woodinville, Wash.) and cornerback Ayden Hector (Eastside Catholic, Sammamish, Wash.).

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