HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In first-year head coach Nick Rolovich's introductory press conference, the one-time Warrior quarterback compared the Hawaii football program to the Disney movie 'The Lion King.'
It was a message that resonated with member's of Rolovich's first recruiting class in Manoa.
"He says 'Defend Pride Rock,' and that's what I'm gonna do," said Kalakaua Timoteo, a former Mililani High School receiver who signed with the Rainbow Warriors on Wednesday morning. "With everything in me, with every ounce of me, I'm gonna fight for Hawaii. It just feels good putting the pen to paper and making it official that I'm gonna play for UH."
Timoteo was among the more than dozen recruits who signed letters of intent to play for the University of Hawaii football team on Wednesday during a ceremony at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. While many others decided to go away to attend school, including Mililani teammate and one-time Hawaii commit Mckenzie Milton, Timoteo says there was only one place in the country for him to play.
"It's easy to go away, to big programs, the Pac-12, the SEC," Timoteo said. "But for me, I feel like it takes more to stay here and fight for what we have. It's a very special place when it's rocking."
Rolovich's "Live Hawaii, Play Warrior" message since taking over as head coach impacted the decisions of young men, including 'Iolani offensive lineman Josh Hauani'o, to attend U.H.
"You can tell that these are guys that want to play for Hawaii. They want that name across their chest," said Hauani'o. "They want to represent their state, and not only their state, but their family too."
Other recruits who have signed their letters of intent, the school says, include Scheyenne Sanitoa (DB, American Samoa), Viane Moala (DL, American Samoa), Keala Santiago (DB, Kahuku), Netane Muti (DL, Leilehua), Freddie Holly (RB, Norte Vista High School, CA), Eugene Ford (DB, University High School, CA), Cole McDonald (QB, Sonora High School, CA), Jeremiah Pritchard (LB, American Samoa), Mykal Tolliver (DB, St. John Bosco High School, CA), Davine Tullis (ATH, Ballard High School, WA), Ikem Okeke (LB, Bishop Gorman, NV), Kingjames Taylor (OL, Narbonne High School, CA), and Marcus Armstrong-Brown (WR, Diablo Valley COllege, CA).