Wednesday marked as the early National Letter of Intent Signing Day for high school football seniors and it was a big day for dozens of Hawaii’s top recruits.
More than 20 players from the islands signed with FBS programs including three that will be staying home to play for the University of Hawai’i.
Saint Louis offensive lineman Arasi Mose, Mililani linebacker Darius Muasau, and Kamehameha defensive back Tiger Peterson all committed to the Rainbow Warriors.
As for the players that decided to go away for college, the biggest mystery heading into the day was the decision for the state’s all-time leading passer, Mililani’s Dillon Gabriel.
The reigning Cover2 Kaulukukui Award winner as state offensive player of the year, he narrowed his offers down from UCF, Georiga, and USC.
At his school’s library this afternoon, he made a move to Orlando official, signing with the Knights following the Trojan footsteps of fellow quarterback McKenzie Milton.
“I made the decision on Monday, like I said it was very tough. A lot of thinking but when it came down to it, it fit me. I have some family down there as well, so overall it just, UCF is the place I want to be,” said Gabriel. “Me and McKenzie talk day to day, we’re very close and him being there is definitely a plus and being that having someone from Hawaii be at UCF, it’s very good.”
Gabriel will enroll on January 3 and start classes on January 4.
As for the biggest winner among programs, that would be the Washington Huskies.
The Pac-12 power, signed five players this afternoon, including Cover2 Marcus Mariota Award winner Fa’atui Tuitele (Saint Louis DL) and Olin Kreutz Award winner Sama Pa’ama (Kaimuki OL/DL).
“Choosing Washington I think was the best decision that I have made in my life. I feel so comfortable and I also feel at home. Going to U-Dub with the other four Hawaii boys is going to be even better, so we’re all going to represent Hawaii with a Washington uniform,” said Tuitele.
Joining the Saint Louis defensive lineman and Kaimuki two-way lineman will be Kahuku linebacker Miki Ah You, Kapolei offensive lineman Julius Buelow, and Punahou placekicker Tim Horn.
FBS EARLY SIGNING PERIOD:
Tiger Peterson, DB, Kamehameha, Hawaii
Arasi Mose, OL, Saint Louis, Hawaii
Darius Muasau, LB, Mililani, Hawaii
Maninoa Tufono, LB, Punahou, USC
Sama Paama, OL, Kaimuki, Washington
Faatui Tuitele, DL, Saint Louis, Washington
Timothy Horn, K, Punahou, Washington
Julius Buelow, OL, Kapolei, Washington
Miki Ah You, LB, Kahuku, Washington
Tausili Fiatoa, LB, Kahuku, Navy
Sitiveni Kaufusi, RB/LB/DE, Punahou, Navy
Elijah Unutoa, OL, Kapaa, BYU
Ethan Erickson, TE, Kahuku, BYU
Duke Clemens, OL, Punahou, UCLA
Marist Liufau, DB, Punahou, Notre Dame
Peni Naulu, LB, Kapolei, Washington State
Dillon Gabriel, QB, Mililani, UCF
Ben Scott, OL, Saint Louis, Arizona State
Gino Quinones, DL, Saint Louis, USC
Leif Fautanu, C/DL, Pac-Five, UNLV
Kupono Blake, DL, Kamehameha, Air Force
Isaiah Filisi, DL, Saint Louis, Army
According to the Hawaii Prep World, six players from Hawaii have received at least one FBS offer publicly are uncommitted ahead of the Feburary 6 traditional national letter of intent signing day: Kahuku OL Enokk Vimahi, Kamehameha OL Lokahi Pauole, Punahou DB Kaulana Makaula, Kahuku DB Nalu Emerson, Saint Louis DL Liloa Kapiko, and Kahuku DL Tuia Tupuola.
Also worth noting is that former Kapolei quarterback and 2016 Cover2 Kaulukukui Award winner Taulia Tagovailoa, who finished his prep playing career at Thompson High School in Alabama, signed with the University of Alabama on Wednesday.
He will join big brother Tua, the Saint Louis graduate and sophomore quarterback for the Crimson Tide who finished second in the Heisman Trophy race earlier this month.