These 3 recruits were core of Kahuku’s defense

Kahuku's Hirkley Latu, Keala Santiago and Bradlee Anae signed letters of intent to their respective colleges on Wednesday. Nick Abramo / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Kahuku’s Hirkley Latu, Keala Santiago and Bradlee Anae signed letters of intent to their respective colleges on Wednesday. Nick Abramo / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

One lineman, one linebacker, one defensive back.

They were the very leadership core of the Kahuku defense and now they’ll be going off on their own college paths.

On Wednesday at the Kahuku gym, they stepped up to the podium and told friends and family where they’ll be going. And then they signed their national letters of intent.

Defensive end Bradlee Anae and linebacker Hirkley Latu announced for the first time where they’ll be playing football. Safety Keala Santiago made good on his previous oral commitment to Hawaii.

“What I saw in Utah was I just fell in love with the people,” said Anae, the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder. “They’re great people down there and Coach Kyle Whittingham, they’re just genuine people. They don’t beat around the bush. They tell you straight and that’s what I like, because when I get there, all I want is the truth. No people blowing smoke. I love Utah and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Anae also had offers from BYU, Oregon State, Virginia and Vanderbilt.

“My ideal position in college will actually be the outside linebacker slash D-end position,” he said. “That’s where they have me at Utah; that’s where I fit in the scheme.”

Latu will go on a two-year mission before settling into the BYU campus.

“It was a really tough decision and I had to pray hard about it,” he said. “I thought BYU was the best decision for my family and I. It really did come down to the wire.

Latu, who is 6-3 and 200 pounds, expects to play outside linebacker and also possibly some inside linebacker and safety.

“It depends on the defensive scheme,” he said. “They run a 4-3, so they’re going to see where I fit and can make a difference. They see that I can cover ground and they’ll see how my body is and how heavy I am when I come back from my mission.”

Latu also had offers from Cal, Hawaii, Oregon State, Utah, Utah State and Washington State.

Anae, Latu and Santiago were three of eight Kahuku defensive players picked to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State first team.

“I think (Hawaii) was the best fit for me,” said Santiago, the 5-11, 187-pounder who was the Star-Advertiser’s defensive player of the year for the Division I state champion Red Raiders. “With Coach Rolo (Nick Rolovich) and Coach (Kevin) Lempa coming in, they want me to play and I felt comfortable over there at my visit. I (previously) always wanted to go off-island and explore different options, but after my visit, it really opened my eyes that this is the place where I need to be.

“They see me as a strong safety. They really want me to come in and learn the system so I can play fast (soon) because they know I can do it. To me, that’s a big opportunity to go there and start playing right away, but we’ll see what happens.”

Santiago also had offers from Army, Colorado, Navy and UNLV.


  1. EwaEwa February 3, 2016 1:22 pm

    Pure talent right there, Anae and Santiago will be very productive if they stay healthy. Good luck to all athletes that signed today.

  2. Mahatma Gandhi February 3, 2016 6:56 pm

    Why no mention of Manaia Atuaia? He was as vital to the Kahuku D as those other 3 players. Didn’t he get a single offer? He absolutely laid out a St Loiuis punt coverman on a return. Vicious hit. He gotta be related to Mark Atuaia.

  3. Tatanka February 4, 2016 8:16 am

    I’m not sure but I think those 3 are the only ones to sign division 1.
    Manaia Atuaia, Jess Kanongataaa, Aaron Tapusoa and Pesa Lefau i don’t think signed maybe still have yet to qualify. Those boys named all division 1 talent even Tamato Neher, Jed Heffernan and Kekoa Sasaoka. still even if they go junior college route still can make Division 1

  4. Old School Cougar February 4, 2016 12:04 pm

    Anae should have went to Vandy or Virginia. The quality of education there are levels above Utah.

  5. Action Jackson February 4, 2016 8:26 pm

    Old school cougar, you’re not one old school cougar. You pose as Homom, Spartan, and Education first. We’re tired of hearing your garbage. You never played sports in HS you clown!

  6. Education First February 4, 2016 8:35 pm

    Action Jackson, the only thing you played with is yourself, shuffleboard, and cribbage. Stop pretending. I know you are not smart enough to debate me. YOu never offer any critical evidence. You just ramble on and on, blah blah blah.

    I challenge anyone on this site to prove that Homom or AOK is me. Like i said, I may have 100 0 usernames, but those are not any of mine.

    Action Jackson on the other hand has usernames of mahuboy, ilikeyoungboys, peepingtom, etc.

  7. Education First February 4, 2016 8:41 pm

    I would also like to congratulate Coach Alan Akina for being reinstated. I applaud him for taking the legal route. Guys like Action Jackson would have no idea how to do that. And to show how supportive Coach Akina is, he is staying out of the spotlight as the team heads down the stretch run.

    Guys like Action Jackson would never do something like this because she needs to be in teh spotlight. Lucky for us, Action Jackson would never be hired to lead anyone since he is a buffoon.

  8. Education First February 4, 2016 8:42 pm

    MDA says:
    February 3, 2016 at 9:57 pm
    Spread out the playing time? What BS!!!! I give the coach credit for sticking it out… i would left that meeting with the Principal & AD so fast that the door would hit me in the ass as i flew out.

  9. Education First February 4, 2016 8:43 pm

    bobolinko says:
    February 3, 2016 at 4:05 pm
    Amazing how some school administrators can “Kiss a$$” to loudmouth parents. Ahame, shame!! They should be “Put on leave” too……. PERMANENTLY!!

    AYSO coddeling has no part in School sports! Grow up crybabies, or take your kids somewhere else. Coaches want to have their teams win. And as well, I would too.
    For the record, I used to coach, and listenimg ro crybaby parents is always prevalent, and the A.D. should have set those
    Arents straight wirh the backing of the principal, but then, wimps will always be wimps, anywhere you look. Good Job Mr. AKINA! It’s obvious you love the team. IMUA!!!!!

  10. Education First February 4, 2016 8:43 pm

    Crackers says:
    February 3, 2016 at 4:25 pm
    My opinion is that a bunch of out of control parents whose kids are prima donnas think they can do an end run on a head coach, and in the process getting the principal and the athletics director all riled up over what appears to be…no big deal. Parents should know their place and let the kids play and the coaches coach. Parents, you don’t know better than the coaches so just sit down, shut blank up and let the coaches coach. And that principal and athletics director are astoundingly, profoundly out of line because they couldn’t even suspend their coach and in the process made the team suffer the whole time. Kahuku has some real issues, especially in the community culture. There is an overdose of pride and zero humility at any level, with the translation of that being a combination of arrogance and insecurity. Arrogance plus insecurity is a bad combination to have, and worse is that cultures take a long time to evolve so I don’t see the community culture solving itself anytime soon. Just my opinion.

  11. Education First February 4, 2016 8:44 pm

    Dai says:
    February 3, 2016 at 5:26 pm
    I’m not sure what this decision or agreement means. What evidence has the principal and athletic director presented to justify putting coach on “leave”? If coach didn’t have the back bone to file the lawsuit, what would have come of him? If any of the parents who started this can learn something, have them look at how coach carried himself and have their kids learn from it.
    The DOE needs to investigate what, why and how the principal and athletic director carried out their inquiry. Maybe they need to be on the bench and guide coach on how and when to put players in. They need to have coach record minutes played by each player. Like the do for AYSO.
    Wonder how the players will handle the return of coach. Will he disgruntled, no minutes players still be on the team? Will their parents allow them to still play?
    Will the principal and athletic director also direct the football team coaches to give everyone equal playing time?
    Imua Red Raiders!

  12. Education First February 4, 2016 8:44 pm

    caloha says:
    February 3, 2016 at 7:11 pm
    Seriously, they told the coach to play all the players evenly? Division 1, varsity basketball??!!?! Have they no concept of what competitive sports is all about? Why does coach Akina want to coach there? He should take his sons and go somewhere where the academics and athletics aren’t a total joke. No offense to the kids at kahuku but your principal and ad are ridiculous.

  13. Education First February 4, 2016 8:45 pm

    Dawg says:
    February 3, 2016 at 7:21 pm
    High school sports being coached from the bleachers…SUCKS! Shame on those CRY BABY PARENTS! PUSSIES!

  14. Education First February 4, 2016 8:46 pm

    motoxdad says:
    February 3, 2016 at 8:09 pm
    I see a lawsuit for attorney fees on the horizon. And why not, the incompetent people get represented by the attorney general who is paid by US the tax payers and coach gotta cough up thousands of dollars just to clear his name.

  15. Action Jackson February 4, 2016 9:34 pm

    Like a little kid wanting attention.

  16. Polo February 5, 2016 6:50 am

    Education first shut your ass! By the way howz the boy doing in college . Navy is a good school .

  17. Rr4l February 5, 2016 9:32 pm

    Just as long as these boys go to school and get that degree, that’s all that matters. No matter what school they choose to attend. As long as they do what they’re supposed to, they’ll be fine! Go Big Red! #RedRaiders4Life!

  18. Education First February 6, 2016 9:56 am

    Action Jackson, like a guy chasing little kids. Just wondering, is that TRO still on you? Moms lock up the kids, Action Jackson is on the loose again!

  19. Action Jackson February 6, 2016 8:17 pm

    There you go w/ that obscene mouth of yours. Time to quit your comments already son.

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