HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An 11-year-old athlete from Kapolei is making national headlines after receiving an offer to play football for the University of Hawaii.
On the surface, Titan Lacaden appears to be a like any other soon-to-be sixth grade boy. He loves video games, does homework and has household chores.
But when he's on the football field, his father Frank Lacaden says he's got some serious talent that caught the eye of UH football Head Coach Nick Rolovich.
Lacaden said his son captured the attention of the Rainbow Warriors head coach at a football camp this past weekend.
"(Coach Rolovich) pulled me on the side and asked me how I'd feel about UH offering Titan," Frank said. "The recruiting process is long, narrow, vigorous, hard. Many get to the front door and it sometimes just doesn't open. So when the opportunity opened, I'm gonna go in," he said.
Titan won't be in college until the year 2025, but he has already earned a verbal scholarship from Coach Rolo.
"It blew my mind. Especially because everybody was asking me 'how did you get it? how did you get it?' I just said -- just stay humble and keep playing," Titan said.
Frank says he started noticing his son's advanced athletic abilities at the age of four. He says his son excels at every position, but Titan's favorite is safety. When asked why, he said, "I'd rather hit people than them hitting me."
For college coaches, this type of recruiting isn't new.
Florida Atlantic University head coach Lane Kiffin recently gave similar offers to both sixth and seventh graders.
"It's important for some of these coaches to get as much publicity and brand their programs, and just let the local people of Hawaii know that you are watching all the different prospects that at any age," said Rich Miano, former UH associate head football coach.
Miano says there are some challenges with this strategy -- will the coach still be at the school when the athlete is eligible? And what if the athlete peaks physically too early?
While these are just verbal offers, Miano says your word can be just as important as ink.
"As a coach you need to continue to keep your word, especially in a small place like Hawaii," said Miano.