RECRUITING: Kapolei’s Buelow a hot commodity

Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez, right, got a recent visit from current and former players (right to left) Micah Kapoi (Wisconsin), Julius Buelow, Sean Auwae (Vanderbilt) and Viliamu Auwae (Utah State). Photo courtesy Darren Hernandez.

When the recruiting web site released its first recruiting rankings for the class of 2019, Saint Louis’ Faatui Tuitele, Kahuku’s Enokk Vimahi and Punahou’s Maninoa Tufono were all placed in the top 100 overall.

Schools have flocked to bid for the services of all three, with the 6-foot-3, 270-pound Tuitele receiving his 17th offer on Monday from California.

Tufono and Vimahi each have nine offers including Oregon, USC, UCLA and Utah.

The “Big Three” of the class are all doing well, but it’s getting close to being time to add a fourth player to the soon-to-be named “Big Four.”

Kapolei offensive lineman Julius Buelow, who is now 6-foot-7 and 300 pounds according to Hurricanes coach Darren Hernandez, was an offensive standout at the recently completed All-Poly camp and has picked up offers from New Mexico and Utah State in recent days.

With the Lobos and Aggies on board, Buelow, who played for Damien last season, now finds himself second in the class with 11 total offers. They are: Arizona State, BYU, Fresno State, Hawaii, New Mexico State, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah, Utah State, Washington State.

Both Rivals and Scout have yet to release their 2019 recruiting rankings.

Buelow is one of 16 players who will be juniors in the fall who already hold at least one scholarship offer. By contrast, a total of 20 and 21 players respectively signed letters of intent with Division I schools in 2016 and 2017.

The class of 2019 lost a significant player when quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa of Kapolei transferred to a school in Alabama. Hernandez is doing just fine, however, with six players expected to be on his roster in the fall holding Division I offers already.

Of the 51 players holding at least one offer, 27 will be seniors.

In a breakdown of offers by school, Kapolei ranks fourth overall behind Saint Louis (12), Kahuku (11) and Punahou (nine).

Saint Louis, 12
Kahuku, 11
Punahou, 9
Kapolei, 6
Kamehameha, 3
Mililani, 1
Kaimuki, 1
Kapaa, 1
Kailua, 1
St. Francis, 1
Waianae, 1
KS-Maui, 1
Pearl City, 1
Maui, 1
Campbell, 1



  1. DaLegend June 19, 2017 5:22 pm

    And who said only ILH teams recruit. Hernandez been recruiting forever. But does any of his players pan out at the next level? Only I think Noa-Kaheaku QB who went to Navy did ok.

  2. anywaaaays!! June 19, 2017 9:48 pm

    Athletic scholarships is a big business. Many families with talented kids who have the opportunity to attend an ILH school will do so because 1) The preparatory aspect from a HS curriculum to College. 2) The athletic resources and increased potential for their kid to get a college offer (aka free college education).

    Isnt it telling that the team with the most D1 offers (STL) won the state title last year, Kahuku finished 2nd and they also have the 2nd most players with D1 offers. Punahou and Kapolei rounded up the top 4.

    The recruiting war has a direct impact on how well a team will do in the state tourney, the more you stack your team with D1 talent your chances of winning a title increase. Kahuku & Kapolei are public schools that are restricted by boundaries so they have mostly homegrown talent with a few transfers here and there, STL/PUN rely on attracting and recruiting their talent, I personally do not have an issue with ILH recruiting until it crosses certain lines which Ill explain later in this post.

    In the ILH, you have parents who are investing a lot of money and time for their kids to be a part of a SUPER TEAM where winning is expected, anything less than a championship is unacceptable. When the ILH school delivers an ILH title and State title they can say “Hey, we did our job, now its up to you parents and your kids to catch the eye of college scouts”. When the ILH doesnt win the parents complain and say “Why am I paying all this money just to see a public school like Kahuku or Mililani beat us? or Why is my kid not starting?” same can be said of the ILH alumni and boosters “Why are we losing to public schools, we are better then that!”

    The two ILH schools with the most to lose are PUN & STL, prior to last year only one ILH team qualified for the state tourney. Funny how quickly and secretly that changed and now both schools are qualified for the Open division. Also take note of how urgent this ILH/OIA merger issue is being pursued, the ILH needs to continue to deliver a palatable product to their high-paying tuition parents and high-expectation alumni/boosters, playing in a 3 team league has become stale. They desperately need the OIA to bail them out of this situation in order to offer their ILH athletes more variety & exposure. This talk about doing whats best for the kids of Hawaii is really coming from the ILH influencers looking out for their own kind. The OIA is big enough to survive on their own and can give a rats arse about helping the ILH.

    The OIA has millions of other sports and millions of knucklehead kids to worry about, football is of the same importance as water polo in fact the OIA could careless about how many football scholarships their kids have, the OIA families have no expectations for the OIA to deliver that to them. The OIA families have learned to fight and fend for themselves because the DOE does not have resources to support anything but the bare minimum.

    The bottom line in the ILH is money, its the motivating factor that drives their level of competition. So what drives the OIA football programs? It cant be money because the money trail leads to the ILH, the OIA coaches and community need to use Pride as their source of motivation to compete.

    In the old days every OIA school had pride in representing their community, Mckinley, Radford, Waipahu, Waialua, Kailua, Waianae, Kaiser, Nanakuli were all top dogs that won OIA titles. Enter the 90’s and STL started to recruit the elite athletes out of these communities, districts closer to town like Mckinley, Farrington, Kaimuki suffered the most. All of sudden only the far remote schools like Waianae and Kahuku could remain at a championship level.

    Kahuku has always been a family oriented community with generations playing for Kahuku, Pride is automatic and it took a lot of patience and hard work but once they broke through and started to beat the ILH for state championships the formula to success was established, in fact Reggie Torres in 2005 and Vae Tatta in 2015 won titles as first year head coaches for Kahuku because of that formula being in place. When STL and PUN come to Laie Park and lure some of the future red raiders to the ILH things get a little antsy because they are disrupting the formula that is built off of pride and loyalty. Are they bitter? maybe a little but also happy for the kid that he is pursuing better opportunity’s. In Kahuku they wear shirts that say “Born and bred to wear red”, “Once a red raider, always a red raider”, “it takes a village to raise a kid”, “Kahuku for Life”. Those of you who say that the OIA does not own a kid, well, maybe not at other OIA schools but in Kahuku its all about family and “Born and bred to wear Red” is not just a saying, its a way of life.

    Mililani saw some success in 2013/14 because Rod York understood the concept of a super team, he was able to get a few stud transfers and win a title but the pride element which is what sustains OIA schools talent is lacking so that is why they have dropped down into the middle tier of competition. If Mililani were an ILH school they could easily boost their recruiting efforts island wide and remain a championship contender every year. This is the big difference between ILH and OIA schools and why the playing field will never be even.

    Kapolei has the population and gene pool to field a top football program every year, combined with the close proximity to Nanakuli and Ewa beach (which attracts stud transfers) and you know Kapolei will get a title soon. Darren Hernandez understands that he now needs to build up the pride factor to sustain his success and he has done that in various ways, one of them is by implementing a mini-championship series between Kap/Campbell/Waianae, winner of those games gets a koa trophy and bragging rights for a year.

    The OIA has to be creative to be successful, the ILH just buys it. The level of talent that both leagues have been pumping out over the years have been incredible, it has been getting better and better every year and all this has been happening while both leagues remain separated. I dont see anything that is broken. The ILH has produced two heisman candidates in the last 10 years and mulitple top 10 NFL draft picks, that does not sound like a league that is struggling, it sounds like a league that cant get enough and wants more, which is fine and dandy, just dont blame the OIA for the problems that are preventing you from getting more.

  3. grabum.bythe.puppy.gate June 20, 2017 10:37 am

    trojan pride saber pride everyone pride stlou brohterhood

  4. BG Grad June 22, 2017 10:21 pm

    anywaaays: something something, private schools recruit, something something, they’re all evil.
    something something, i’m angry.

    dude. nobody is gonna read all that crap you just wrote. sorry. tl;dr

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