I was in Hawaii for five days and interviewed 20 players. I drove around the island of Oahu. Two players flew over from Maui to meet me. Can you believe it? In all the time I was there, the sun never came out. It rained for three days. I got more of a sun tan in New Jersey in April.
Believe me, college coaches who go to Hawaii to sit on the beach and don't bother to evaluate the local talent are making a big mistake.
The most talked about player in 10 years is linebacker Mati Te'o, a 6-2, 225-pounder from Honolulu. He ranks with Jarvis Jones of Columbus, Georgia, as the two best linebackers in the country. Neither is committed. Te'o has been offered by Notre Dame--coach Charlie Weis made a personal visit in January--but he is leaning to USC. He also has been offered by 27 other schools, including Tennessee, LSU and Auburn. Brigham Young also is in the mix.
Te'o is a devout Mormon and plans to go on a two-year mission before enrolling in college. He was an all-stater as a junior. He is a difference-maker, good enough to rank among the top 20 players in the nation. I loved him on film. He dominates games.
Another standout is Te'o's teammate, 5-11, 190-pound running back Dalton Hilliard. He has nine offers, including Notre Dame, Stanford, Nebraska and Arizona. Michigan and Ohio State also are expressing interest.
The No. 2 player in Hawaii is 6-6, 330-pound offensive lineman Stan Hasiak of Kapolei, who has offers from most Pac-10 schools.
Other standouts are 6-5, 295-pound offensive lineman Kapua Saik of Honolulu, who has offers from Hawaii and Utah and will attract more; 6-2, 235-pound linebacker Chad Lopati of Kapolei, who would have 10-20 offers if he was playing in Chicago; and 6-1, 160-pound wide receiver Billy Ray Stutzmann of Honolulu, who averaged 20 yards per reception last season and has been offered by Washington State, Arizona and Hawaii.