There are probably a few connecting flights between Honolulu and Nashville, Tenn.
Marcus Mariota, the phenom from Saint Louis and Oregon, knows that well as the starting quarterback of the Tennessee Titans. Kekaula Kaniho, one of Kahuku’s all-state cornerbacks, might become familiar with that destination soon enough.
Kaniho received offers on Thursday from Vanderbilt and Washington State. The tie-in to Commodore country? Kahuku head coach Vavae Tata was an assistant in player development at Vanderbilt in 2014.
Kaniho already had offers from Colorado and Hawaii. His play at the recent Pylon 7v7 tournament in Las Vegas enhanced his status.
“He had a hell of a tournament on both sides of the ball up at Pylon,” said Darren Johnson, who was the head coach of the Hukilau Cafe team that reached the semifinal round.
“He has good work habits, good work ethic, good focus. The boy has good grades,” he said of Kaniho, who has a 3.9 cumulative grade-point average. “His dad and mom keep him focused.”
Johnson noted that Kaniho’s younger brother, Kaonohi, is another promising player.
“He’s another one to watch for,” he said of the eighth grader. “He’s a kid I would play as a freshman on the varsity level. He’s that good.”
The younger Kaniho played on the Goat Island squad that reached the semifinals of the Intermediate Division at Pylon 7v7. The Kanihos’ father, Jarrett, was on the coaching staff and is a former player of Johnson’s.