In-state recruiting is vital to the success to any college football program, especially in Hawaii. On Monday, Mililani edge rusher Sonny Semeatu, became the second local high school product to verbally commit to the hometown university in a 10-day span.
“UH actually recognized my talents and actually gave me the opportunity. I’m so blessed and happy. They helped me and my family,” Semeatu said. “It’s really important to keep guys local, especially from down here staying on the rock, defending pride rock. It’s pretty awesome having people stay here and defend Hawaii, home.”
Semeatu received interest from other schools, but home ultimately proved to be where his heart was, as UH was the only school up to this point to offer him a scholarship.
“There’s no place like home. I just want to rep my Polynesian pride and also because (Mililani) Coach (Rod) York gave me a big opportunity,” he said. “It was the only school that recognized my talents.”
The soon-to-be senior cannot put pen to paper to make it official until December when the NCAA signing window opens, but he is ready to put the recruiting process behind him so he can focus on his final season at Mililani.
“I don’t have to think about what college I’m going to. I can just focus on grinding and getting ready for college. So coming into high school season, this last season of mine, it takes a lot of burden off my shoulders,” Semeatu said.
Mililani is coming off an 8-5 season in which its defense became one of the best in the state, as opponents managed just 15 points per game. The Trojans held their opponents to seven points or less eight times, with five of those being shutouts. The team came up short down the stretch, finishing the season 1-3 in their final four contests.
“Those games 3-0 against Punahou, or 7-3 versus Kahuku in the (OIA) championship, we just have to fix those little mistakes and come back better this season and work harder,” Semeatu said.
Under pandemic-free circumstances, Semeatu and his teammates would have been reporting to training camp in two weeks. Due to COVID-19, he must wait. The HHSAA is targeting Aug. 17 as day one of camp.
“I’ve been itching to get in the field. I’ve been doing offseason on my own. We are just hoping and praying there is a season. Hopefully we can get up there and start working again to prep for this upcoming season,” he said eagerly. “There is no excuses here, so we will take this opportunity or whatever we get. Work harder and everything. We have to come back harder than last season because we have a lot to prove. We feel as a team we could have done way better.”
As of now, high school football is currently scheduled to open on the weekend of Sept. 4.