By Rodney S. Yap
Baldwin High School sophomore Jordan Hoiem received a scholarship offer via telephone from University of Hawaii head football coach Norm Chow Tuesday afternoon.
Hoiem got a message from Baldwin head coach AJ Roloos that Chow wanted to talk to the 6-foot, 4-inch, 208-pound outside linebacker.
“I got a Facebook message from Coach AJ that he wanted to talk to me so I called him right away,” Hoiem said. “I wasn’t expecting a scholarship offer. I thought he was going to tell me that they’ve been watching me . . . but I’m stoked.”
The 65-year-old Chow told Hoiem that when he graduates in two years, “I got a scholarship waiting for me” to attend UH.
“It feels great. It gave me a huge boost of motivation and confidence. Now I feel like working out 10 times harder in the weight room.”
Hoiem, a Maui Interscholastic League second-team all-star, put up impressive numbers last month at the Nike SPARQ Combine on Oahu. His SPARQ score of 88.11 ranked him 11th out of 453 participants. He was also named to the Hawaii All-Nike Combine Team by ESPN HS, made up of the top 25 players.
Hoiem was one of three underclassmen linebackers chosen to the Hawaii All-Nike Combine Team. He ran his 40-yard dash in 4.88 seconds, his pro-agility shuttle in 4.35, tossed the power ball 39.5 feet, and had a vertical jump of 27.6 inches.
“UH has always been one of the schools I’ve wanted to play for,” Hoiem said. “I was kind of worried I wouldn’t get recruiting because I live on Maui. It’s pretty mind-blowing right now. I’m still in shock about it.”
Hoiem’s recruiting status was elevated after his strong performance against Punahou in the semifinals of the 2011 state football tournament at Aloha Stadium. Although the Buffanblu bested Baldwin 35-0, Hoiem had a team-high five solo tackles (7 overall), including two for minus 8-yards and he also broke up a pass. OC16 televised the game and its broadcast team was complimentary of Hoiem and praised him repeatedly on replays of his two tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Hoiem said his conversation with Chow was short and sweet.
“We were talking story and he told me he has family on Maui. Then he invited me to their spring practice and told me to come to their (Green & White) scrimmage.”
Chow’s Warriors will open spring training on March 21. The Warriors will practice Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. They will take a week off for spring break after March 23. The tentative date for their annual Green-White scrimmage is set for mid-April at War Memorial Stadium.
Despite having only 39 days before the official signing date on Feb. 1, Chow and staff managed to sign three of the state’s top prospects – linebacker Benson Fonua (Kahuku HS), running back Steven Lakalaka (Punahou School), and offensive lineman Kiha Sai (Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama). Fonua was the state’s defensive player of the year this past season while Siha was rated as the No. 3 recruit in the state and Lakalaka was picked as the fifth-best prospect.
Kahuku junior John Wa‘a, a 6-foot-3, 280-pound offensive lineman, is the first local player from the 2013 graduating class to commit to UH.
Chow promised to raise the bar in recruiting locally and he appears to be keeping his word.
“He told me, ‘With the skills you have I know you’re going to get other offers, but I wanted to be the first.’ It’s a good feeling to know that he wants me and is willing to make the offer now. I couldn’t be happier.”