It was a pretty well-kept secret.
Kailua coach Joe Wong knew it. Offensive tackle Nilsson Gaisoa and his family knew it. Maybe even a few friends.
No rush to tell anybody, right? It was the beginning of the football season in the fall that Gaisoa made an oral commitment to Washington State. The Cougars were the first to visit and recruit him. Other schools came after the season, but they were too late.
Gaisoa wanted to get through the season and put talk of college off until a better time.
“I didn’t need something else to worry about,” he told Hawaii Prep World on Thursday.
Instead of talking college, Gaisoa went out and did his job. You want reasons for Kailua’s major turnaround? It started with Wong, of course. But, if you are clicking off the PowerPoint presentation bullet points under the headline “FROM 0-7 in 2014 TO 7-3 IN 2015,” one of the first items would be Gaisoa at tackle.
The Surfriders had a balanced offense and Gaisoa, who is 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds, led the point of attack. No Kailua running back eclipsed 500 yards rushing, but as a team, they ran for 2,139 yards and passed for another 2,149.
“We were trying to start something for the future of Kailua football,” said Gaisoa, whose nickname is Miga. “Put Kailua on the map.”
The Cougars staff told Gaisoa — who went on his official visit to the Pullman campus last weekend — that they want him to get bigger.
“They like my pass blocking,” he said. “And they have a passing, spread offense. I think I need to improve my run blocking, big-time.”
Before the winter break, head coaches and the top recruiters from Oregon, Colorado, Utah State and San Diego State came to visit Gaisoa, but his mind was already made up.
“Washington State made the first offer and coach Joe kept in touch with them,”he said. “They kept checking on me.”
Gaisoa was a Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State third-team selection.
Wong said coaches from Oregon and Washington are also highly interested in two other Surfriders, 6-4, 210-pound defensive end Christian Mejia, a senior to be, and 6-5, 265-pound offensive tackle Sione Veikoso, who will be a junior.
According to Wong, the Ducks and Huskies went this week to the Mililani campus, where Trojans head coach Rod York and assistant Silila Malepeai gave them a head’s up about the two underclassmen at Kailua.
“They were over to Kailua within 20 minutes,” Wong said. “I’ve already had a lot of respect and a bond with coach York, but that just goes to show you how much he cares and other coaches on the island care about helping out the good players who are being recruited. It’s a coconut wireless.”
Wong was pretty clear about this: “Mejia will be able to write his own ticket and Veikoso is going to be highly sought after.”