Keaau grad, ‘Bows safety Packer ready to join explosive first-team secondary

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After admittedly shaking off the rust on Monday, the University of Hawaii football team turned the intensity up a notch Tuesday morning on day two of training camp in Manoa.

A spike in energy was seen from the get-go as the Rainbow Warrior defense sparked the offense to counter a flurry of fast, high-intensity competition.

Head coach Nick Rolovich told media members following the team’s first practice that the defensive backs were the unit that had the best practice, and the secondary did not suffer from a second day drop-off.

One of the catalysts of the “DBG,” also known as the Defensive Backs Gang, is Keaau graduate and senior safety Damien Packer.

“There’s a lot of upperclassmen in this group,” Packer said. “We’re just ready to go out and have our hard work pay off. We definitely have a chip on our shoulder because we just want to win. So we’re going to come out here every day, bring the energy, and hope it transfers to the rest of the team.”

Packer spent time as a runningback and wide receiver before settling in at safety under former head coach Norm Chow. The senior’s patience was tested under the old regime, but is now running with the first team defense in practice.

“I’ve been through a lot of obstacles, but I definitely feel like I’m molded for this situation,” he said.

It would be quite the payoff for a local-grown prospect to realize his dream of starring in front of friends and family as a senior.

“It would be huge.” Packer emphasized. “Definitely my family, my mother, definitely keep them in mind. I want to make them proud. I also do it for my brothers out here. We’ve been through so much. As much hard work as I’ve put in, there’s always one of these guys that’s with me. We’re just ready to have the fruits from our labor pay off.”

Hawaii continues practice open to the public at 6:30 a.m. until their first off day on Sunday.DAMIEN PACKER BIO:

2015 (Junior): Appeared in all 13 games on special teams and as a reserve defensive back…recorded 11 total tackles and recovered one fumble in the season-ending win over Louisiana Monroe (Nov. 28)…made a season-high three tackles vs. Fresno State (Nov. 14)…academic all-MW team.

2014 (Sophomore): Appeared in all 13 games…began the season at defensive back before switching to wide receiver and running back…did not record any offensive statistics…posted four total tackles…named to the academic all-MW team.

2013 (Freshman): Appeared in nine games, primarily on special teams…finished the season with four tackles, including two against Army (Nov. 30…returned two kickoffs for 12 yards at UNLV (Oct. 12)…named to the academic all-MW team.

Prep: A 2012 graduate of Keaau High on the island of Hawaii…a three-sport athlete…earned three varsity letters in football…played safety and wide receiver…a two-time all-BIIF first-team pick at defensive back and receiver…named team’s Defensive MVP as a senior…squad was league runner-up during each of his three seasons…also a track standout and was a three-time all-league selection…BIIF champion in the 110-meter hurdles as a senior…also competed in the 100-, 200- and 4×100-meter events, as well as the triple jump…helped school capture the 2012 league championship, its first BIIF title in any sport in school history…part of state runner-up 4×100-meter team…also lettered in basketball for three years…named the school’s Athlete of the Year as a senior.

Personal: Born in Honolulu, Oahu…majoring in family resources…mother is Angela Packer of Keaau, Hawaii.

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