HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Every year there's a select group of football players from Hawaii who catch the eye of major Pac-12 schools and teams from the other Power Five conferences.
Some years, like Tua Tagovailoa did back in 2017, there are even a couple of kids who receive more than 40 offers spanning all of the big-time programs.
But for every three or four kids in Hawaii who attract that kind of attention, there are always dozens others who are capable at playing at the next level – and they're the ones coach Rich Miano says he's trying to look out for.
Miano helped co-found the GPA Showcase, which in recent years has become a clinic that attracts everyone from JUCO coaches to Division II scouts.
The goal for Miano is simple – to remove as many financial and geographical obstacles that come with recruiting Hawaii players as possible. He hopes to connect local players with mainland coaches and schools they may not normally consider, so they can continue their playing careers and their education at the next level.
"These kids, they need the opportunity," said Miano. "Just take away the logistical challenges of being in Hawaii."
With help from sponsors, the camp is able to subsidize all of the travel and lodging expenses for many of the coaches. It also provides scholarships to players who couldn't normally afford the camp.
Thanks to donations from Marcus Mariota's Motiv8 Foundation, DeForest Buckner, Fujitsu, and a number of other local businesses, 100 kids will attend the camp this year on scholarship.
According to Miano, the financial return on investment for the camp is astounding. He estimates this year alone they've been able to provide between $50,000 and $70,000 in subsidies to bring coaches to Hawaii, in addition to around $20,000 in scholarships.
In return, they estimate there will be about 200 college offers made to athletes, even though some will go to the same player, and that those scholarships can be valued at up to $5,000,000.
"There are approximately 700 schools that play football. There are only 132 FBS division I schools... There's close to 600 that aren't Division I," said Miano.
His point? College recruiting doesn't end at the power five conferences, or even the division I level. More importantly, even if football never becomes a professional career, it can still earn players the opportunity for a free (or discounted) college education.