HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - University of Hawaii' head football coach Norm Chow announced the Rainbow Warriors' 2014 signing class Wednesday. Chow and his coaching staff secured commitments from 24 high school and junior college prospects and transfers.
Among the recruiting class are 18 prep standouts, four junior college transfers, and two FBS transfers. The class features seven hometown prospects from the state of Hawaii', eight from California, two each from and Florida and Louisiana, and one each from Arizona, Maryland, North Carolina, Utah, and Texas. The position breakdown is seven defensive backs, five linebackers, five wide receivers, four defensive linemen, one offensive lineman, one running back, and one tight end.
Included in this list are two FBS transfers – Jeremy Castro (UCLA) and Quinton Pedroza (Utah) – and two mid-year transfers – Luke Shawley (San Diego Mesa JC) and Tui Unga (Rancho Cucamonga HS), all of whom are already enrolled in school.
"We feel really good about this class, for the first time since I've been here we were able to recruit to specific needs which was primarily on the defensive side of the ball, rush end, linebackers, and corners," Chow said. "We felt we are really young offensively so we targeted the defense in this class given the guys we lost last year."
Sixteen of the 24 signees were on defense. The seven defensive backs include two JUCO cornerbacks – Cesar Fermin (Moorpark College) and Jalen Rogers (Mesa JC) – and five freshmen. UH signed nine players on the front seven, primarily seeking rush ends and linebackers to compliment new defensive coordinator Kevin Clune's defensive scheme. Linebackers Simon Poti (Fullerton College) and Malachi Mageo (Serra HS) were heavily recruited while defensive lineman Ka'au Gifford (Kamehameha Schools-Kapālama) was rated a Top 10 prospect in the state of Hawai'i.
"I thought we did a terrific job with local recruiting," Chow said. "There are a lot of good football players in the state of Hawai'i, which is why so many coaches recruit here. We were able to secure most of the ones we targeted this year and we feel we got some good ones."
Among the state's other Top 10 recruits include wide receiver Devan Stubblefield (Saint Louis) and tight end Dakota Torres (Punahou), who were rated No. 6 and No. 8, respectively, according to various scouting services. Running back DJ Riggins, out of Oaks Christian High School, was highly-rated in the state of California while wide receiver Darrian Josey, is a speedster from Boynton Beach, Fla., and is among the state of Florida's top sprinters.
With Josey and defensive lineman Marquis Fairchild (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), the Warriors continued their pipeline with the state of Florida. Last season, UH's roster included seven Floridians, three of whom were regulars in the starting lineup. Hawai'i inked two prospects from the state of Louisiana – cornerback Jerrell Jackson (Haynesville, La.) and safety Daniel Lewis (New Iberia) and one from Maryland, cornerback Nick Nelson (Forestville, Md.).
2014 Signing Class