A defensive lineman, a K-Pop band, and a one-of-a-kind scholarship surprise

A defensive lineman, a K-Pop band, and a one-of-a-kind scholarship surprise

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Those in and around the Hawaii football program know to expect the unexpected from Nick Rolovich.

But when the Rainbow Warriors head coach brought the K-Pop band Fantastie to practice, no one really knew what to think -- that was until they presented a gift to junior defensive lineman Zeno Choi.

After preforming a ha'a for the band, the group pulled aside the 6-foot-3, 260-pound lineman to present him with a full scholarship offer.

"I didn't expect that at all," said Choi. "I thought we were just going to do a Ha'a for the band. ... I couldn't even comprehend what was going on or how to comprehend what was going on. I was just in shock."

The unique scholarship surprise was the culmination of lots of planning between Rolovich and the Hawaii Korean Chamber of Commerce.

Rolovich said he initially wanted to take the team to the Korean Festival happening in Honolulu this weekend.

There, he planned to "introduce (the team), then give (Zeno) the scholarship" but the logistics, especially during fall camp were too difficult to work out. So, instead Rolovich had the group brought to Friday morning's practice where the band was introduced during seven-on-seven drills before presenting Choi with his scholarship.

According to Rolovich, all the planning and re-planning was worth giving Choi that full scholarship and a moment in the spotlight.

"I remember Zeno from when I was recruiting here for that other school [Nevada]," said Rolovich.

"I remember him at Kaiser, I remember he was very respectful. He worked very hard. He was dynamite in the classroom... He's played a lot for this team. He's had a great training camp. I know he was hungry. We talked about it - he asked me, 'Do you think there's a chance I can get a scholarship?' I said, 'Yea there's a chance. You got to show that you deserve it.'"

Rolovich said there's no doubt he put in the work to prove that he did indeed deserve it.

"He doesn't take any plays off," Rolovich added. "I was happy he was able to get that today."

But, even after earning his scholarship, the work didn't stop for Choi. With some time still left in practice, and an envelope with a scholarship offer in hand, Choi went right back to doing drills.

"I walked over and the o-line and d-line were still doing one-on-ones," said Choi. "So when I got over there I was like, 'Okay, let me try to get in a rep,' get my mind back in football mode."

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