HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Rainbow Warriors wrapped up spring practice number four this morning. For Genta Ito, it is his first spring camp with the University of Hawaii football team after joining as a walk-on last summer.
The 'Bows first Japanese national player was learning a new language, a new home, a new system, and still managed to make quite an impression.
"His heart is pure," said head coach Nick Rolovich. "He's a guy everyone can count on that everyone wants to see succeed."
Having grown up in Japan, Ito never imagined that football would bring him here to Hawaii, but since joining UH, he has emerged as a team favorite and a player that Rolo says the Rainbow Warriors are lucky to have.
"This is a player that left his country, didn't understand the language, played a sport that wasn't necessarily traditional in his home country," said Rolovich. "You don't do that without an extreme love of the game, and I think that's evident when you're around Genta at practice and in everything he does."
What it is that drove him to play? "Football is cool," Ito put quite simply.
"You can really tell he's really passionate about the game of football and he really loves it," said fellow running back Freddie Holly III. "That's what everybody else loves to see."
Ito's hard work has already paid off. Last year he was named the scout team offensive player of the year. His teammates and coaches say they have no doubt that his impact will only conitinue to increase as time goes on.