Kailua-Kona’s Ursua enjoys football after four-year absence

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University of Hawaii football spring training camp rolled on Tuesday morning at Cooke Field in Manoa, where Kailua-Kona’s own John Ursua continued to take advantage of the high-octane offense of head coach Nick Rolovich.

The former Kealakehe High School standout is coming off of a red-shirt season in 2015, his first back in Hawaii since 2011.

Ursua transferred to Cedar High in Saratoga, Utah for his senior season as a prep, later going on a two-year Mormon mission to Paris, France.

Now, the 2015 Scout Team Player of the Year Award winner is seeing the value in his time away from the game.

“It actually helped me a ton,” Ursua said. “First to learn the experience of college football. I haven’t played a down of football in four years, but it helped going against the first-team defense day in and day out.

“It was definitely hard not being able to go in on the Saturdays and traveling with the team and being able to compete against other universities, but it definitely gave me the experience I needed to prepare for this year,” he added.

Ursua has an experienced depth chart to navigate at slot back, where Dylan Collie, Keelan Ewaliko, and Makoa Camanse-Stevens return 42 catches and 533 yards from 2015.

“Whether I play second string, third string, or fourth string, whatever I can do to help the team and help us progress to be a better university, and go back to the Hawaii that people used to know, that is my goal right now,” he said.

The ‘Bows will continue spring practice Thursday at 7 a.m.

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