HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - National letter of intent day kicked off in Waikiki Wednesday. It's a day many college fans consider Christmas in February, when prep athletes contractually agree to play their respective sports at the college level.
Fifty-four young men and women packed into the Sheraton at Waikiki for the annual Pacific Island Athletics Associations LOI event, the largest of its kind in the islands. Around 7am, each signed their names on the dotted line and all at once let out a collective sigh of relief.
"Right after i signed the paper, i was like woah," said Waianae defensive tackle Kennedy Tulimasealii who committed to the University of Hawaii. "I couldn't sleep last night."
"It's a great relief." said Aiea defensive end Ualesi Sale and fellow UH commit "It's a scholarship, a full scholarship. it's free and it's for my family."
Arguably the most relieved among the prep athletes in attendance, Punahou linebacker Isaac Savaiianea who stepped on stage with two name plaques, one for Texas A&M, the other for UCLA. After signing his letter of intent, Savaiianae removed the A&M plaque and dawned a Bruin's hat to the cheers of many in attendance.
"(It was) very stressful, I had gray hairs popping out all over the place. It was extremely difficult. Just seeing that both schools are super good. The decision of this was so hard, i really had to think about it a lot."
While Savaiianea credits former Warrior Jeff Ulbrich and current Bruin's assistant coach as his guiding light to UCLA, St. Louis receiver Jeremy Tabuyo, tabbed as the fastest offensive play maker in the state, says the the idea of catching passes from Heisman winner Johnny Manziel is what appealed to him.
"I'm just excited and truly blessed to go up there. Not only just playing with a quarterback but play with a Heisman winning quarterback as well. I'm just excited to go up there and get the season going."
When it all came down to it family had a large role in todays choices. Iolani soccer star Taylor Kapili will follow in her fathers footsteps at Navy.
"It's kind of just been in my family and the pride of wearing the uniform, serving our country, standing up for other peoples freedoms attracted me to the school."
While most of these athletes will begin a new chapter on the mainland, some couldn't abandon their family roots. In all, seven athletes in attendance -- three in football and four in soccer -- signed with the University of Hawaii.
Like Iolani's Kama Pascua who has a direct link to the Rainbow Wahine soccer team, "Because my sister plays on the team, first of all. And because i wanted to represent Hawaii. I always watch their games and always looked up to them."