Punahou DB Kilinahe Mendiola-Jensen’s 1st Pac-12 offer: Arizona

Punahou defensive back Kilinahe Mendiola-Jensen is popular with college recruiters. He signed with UNLV. Photo by Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser

Senior-to-be Kilinahe Mendiola-Jensen secured his first football scholarship offer from the Pac-12 Conference on Wednesday.

Arizona, with assistant coach Andy Buh dipping into the island pipeline again, made the opportunity available to the playmaking Punahou defensive back. That makes it 16 offers to FBS and FCS programs for Mendiola-Jensen.

At 6 feet, 2 inches tall, recruiters have enjoyed the range and physicality of Mendiola-Jensen, who weighs in at 158 pounds. He has a 3.0 grade-point average. He was in contact with Arizona linebackers coach Andy Buh and defensive backs coach Greg Burns. Arizona is looking at him at cornerback.

“Coach Buh followed me awhile back, he’s been monitoring me through all the videos I’ve been posting. A week and a half ago, we started actually communicating a lot,” Mendiola-Jensen said on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s a big blessing. It’s pretty good getting a Power 5 school, another level to compete at. I’m still gong to do the same thing, do my research and see where I end up.

The addition of Arizona made it 16 offers, but Mendiola-Jensen had already begun the process of paring down his list.

“I kind of been narrowing down my schools to the Mountain West, Army, Central Michigan and the Pac-12,” he said.

Mendiola-Jensen has been in touch with schools that he scratched off his list. Many of them are from the FCS level, including several Big Sky programs.

“I called them when I narrowed it down. I felt it was best for me to do that. I was the one communicating with these coaches, building those relationships. They’re wishing the best for me and they always answered me text when I texted,” he said.

(Chronological order)
Navy (AAC) 3/26/20
Army (independent) 4/6/20
Idaho (Big Sky) 4/16/20
Sacramento State (Big Sky) 4/17/20
Eastern Washington (Big Sky) 4/21/20
UNLV (MWC) 4/29/20
Central Michigan (MAC) 4/30/20
Utah State (MWC) 4/30/20
Montana (Big Sky) 5/14/20
San Diego State (MWC) 5/28/20
Southern Utah (Big Sky) 5/28/20
Valparaiso (Pioneer) 6/8/20
Weber State (Big Sky) 6/11/20
Fresno State (MWC) 6/12/20
New Mexico (MWC) 6/16/20
Arizona (Pac-12) 7/22/20

Among the programs in contact with Mendiola-Jensen are two more from the Pac-12, along with the Warriors.

“Cal, Washington, Hawaii. I’m not too sure yet if they will offer. I’ve been talking to those schools for a while. We’ll see where it goes,” he said.

His Twitter feed has ample video from daily workouts that never stopped through the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, he spent time in Makaha while visiting relatives, honing his rodeo skills. He spent time during the lockdown practicing his lasso skills with younger sister.

“That was just messing around at the ranch. I go out there every so often, whenever I’m free. I don’t compete. My mom doesn’t let me because of football. I was on a horse, roping a steer. Nobody’s timing it, it’s just for fun,” Mendiola-Jensen said.

His football reps have been constant. Mendiola-Jensen is working out with former All-State defensive player of the year Kawe Johnson of TMF and Tony Pang Kee of Fastletics, He also works out at Sports Medicine Hawaii. In the past, he has trained in Kenny Patton‘s speed and quickness program.

The recent announcement by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association regarding workouts for players and their school coaches has no effect on Punahou, he said.

“We meet up once in awhile to get a workout in. We don’t have any (Punahou) coaches there. It’s mainly a player-led workout,” Mendiola-Jensen noted.


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