Hawaii Football: Can Norm Chow Convince Recruits to Go 2,500 Miles West of USC?
After posting a 10-4 record in 2010 and being invited to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, the Hawaii Warriors dipped to 6-7 last season, losing four of their last five games.
Perhaps it was that drop off, or perhaps it is the uncertainty of the new regime under head coach Norm Chow, but recruiting at Hawaii is plodding along at a snail's pace. At present, only four players have committed to play at Hawaii in 2013, with the last one giving verbal agreement nearly three months ago.
Current 2013 commitments (all player ratings are per Scout.com) to the Warriors include:
John Wa'a - OG (commit date 03/11/12)
At 6'3" and 279 pounds, the Hawaii native was pursued by Colorado, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State, but the 2-star prospect chose to stay local and declared (per Stephen Tsai of the Star Advertiser on StarAdvertiserBlogs.com) "I want to be a Warrior" in 2013. One of the main considerations for Wa'a was staying close to family.
"All of my family is here," Wa‘a said, "I can't live without them."
Rashaan Falemalu - LB (commit date 04/08/2012)
A 2-star teammate of John Wa'a, the 6'2", 210-pound linebacker also plays tight end. Just as with Wa'a, family may have been a prime consideration in the linebacker's decision. Falemalu is the younger brother of current Warriors defensive end Paipai Falemalu.
Charles Tuaau - DE (04/16/2012)
Pursued by six other schools including USC and Nebraska, the 2-star prospect received offers from the Cornhuskers as well as New Mexico State, but chose Hawaii. Tuaau currently plays at Riverside junior college in California.
Aaron Zwahlen - QB (06/24/2012)
The 6'3", 195-pound Thomas Downey High School (California) QB is a 2-star prospect who had been pursued by 21 other schools. Despite reportedly having no interest in any other college but Hawaii, Zwahlen received offers from Idaho and Washington State.
"Hawaii felt like home," Zwahlen revealed upon committing in June (as reported by Stephen Tsai of the Star Advertiser on StarAdvertiserBlogs.com). Likely influential in Zwahlen's decision is the fact that his father—Lynn Zwahlen—had played under Norm Chow when he was the receivers coach at BYU.
While the National Letter of Intent signing day (February 6, 2013) is still some five months away, there is no denying that Norm Chow has his work cut out for him. With just four committed recruits—none of which have higher than a 2-star rating—the Warriors need a winning season to spur the interest of high-level prospects. By comparison, nine other Division I programs have 20 or more commitments at this time, with Texas A&M and Georgia each with 28.
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