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Maui’s Hoiem Enjoys Busy Nike Weekend in Oregon

June 11, 2012, 8:58 AM HST · Updated June 11, 5:58 PM
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Baldwin's Jordan Hoiem during linebacker drills at the Nike Football Training Camp Sunday in Eugene, Ore. Photo by Tom Hauck of ESPNHS.

By Rodney S. Yap

The 2012 Nike Football Training Camp for high school football players capped its 12-city tour Sunday in Eugene, Ore. and Maui’s Jordan Hoiem was among the elite skilled position players in attendance.

The NFTC is a position-specific, performance-driven event taught by NFL players and some of the best sports specialist in the country. Hoiem, a 6-foot, 4-inch linebacker, estimated 350 to 400 athletes attended Sunday’s invitation-only event.

“We had about 50 to 60 in our group,” Hoiem said of the linebackers. “It was mostly college-type drills, very intense, a lot of straight movement, plenty of action and a lot of competition. We went hard for five hours, from 9 to 2, hardly any breaks. It’s always hard, because you can’t see yourself, but my head was in the game and I think I did well.”

Jordan Hoiem. Photo by Tom Hauck ESPNHS.

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Hoiem said all the campers warmed up inside the temperature-controlled Moshofsky Sports Center on the campus of University of Oregon. The Mo, as it is affectionately referred to by students and staff, became the first indoor practice facility on the West Coast when it was completed in 1998. The linebackers later broke off into groups inside the 54,000-seat Autzen Stadium.

“I thought Aloha Stadium was cool, but Autzen Stadium is incredible,” Hoiem said. “I was definitely blown away.”

It was during linebacker drills that Hoiem notice a polynesian-looking player.

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“I knew it had to be Coach Chad’s (Kuahaahaa) son. I recognized the Utah gear he had on. So I went up to him and we started talking story.”

Kalei Kauhaahaa, a senior-to-be at Juan Diego High School in Murray, UT, was born and raised on Maui before moving to Utah as an 11-year-old when his dad, Chad Kauhaahaa left Baldwin for Weber State in 2005.

Kalei and Chad Kauhaahaa. Photo courtesy of Chad Kauhaahaa.

The 6-foot, 220-pound linebacker, who runs a 4.7-second 40, received his first official Division I scholarship offer from Arizona in April. The older Kauhaahaa said his son is planning to make a official recruiting visit to Arizona later this year.

Other school’s interested in Kauhaahaa are Boise State, Colorado, Colorado State, Utah, Utah State, Nevada, Hawaii, Fresno State and UNLV.

At the state track and field meet last month, Kauhaahaa said his son was planning on attending the Boise State football camp this summer. Now a coach at Utah, where he played from 1993-96, Kauhaahaa was at Kea’au High School recruiting two-sport star Damien Packer.

Scout.com gives the younger Kauhaahaa a two-star national rating and ranks him No. 139 at outside linebacker. Rivals.com gives him a 5.5 rating out of a possible 6.1.

Hoiem said Maui’s David Kamalani, a certified Nike SPARQ Combine trainer and coach, “was one of the coaches working with the running backs.”

Coach Kamalani’s son, Keloni, a special-team’s starter and junior linebacker at Oregon, watched the final two hours of practice from the stands. “He got there late because he was at church in the morning,” Hoiem said of Keloni.

Jeremy Tabuyo (grey shorts) and Jordan Hoiem (back, white long sleeve) warm up at the Nike SPARQ Combine in Portland on Saturday. Photo by Tom Hauck of ESPNHS.

Besides Hoiem, Saint Louis School receiver Jeremy Tabuyo was the only other player from Hawaii at the NFTC. Tabuyo and Hoiem both attended the Nike Football SPARQ Combine in Portland on Saturday. More than 600 athletes attended the Portland event, the final stop on Nike SPARQ Combine’s 15-city tour.

“I was a little disappointed because I was training. I had hoped to do better,” Hoiem said of his combine marks from Saturday, which were almost identical to the scores he posted at the Honolulu combine in January.

Graphic photo by Rodney S. Yap

“Overall I think I did pretty well on both days. I felt pretty good. I felt more challenged, there was definitely a lot of talent for sure, but I felt I showed well. The only problem was the pair (size) of 13s I wore. I’m a size 14. In the beginning my feet hurt, but I blocked it out and kept competing. I didn’t want it to be an issue . . . but doing drills at full speed, all that sprinting took its toll.”

“By the end of the second day it was so sore I had to go see the trainer. When I took off my shoes I had blisters on every single toe. My blisters on both big toes popped and had to be wrapped. Now my feet is hurting.”

When the camp was over Hoiem said his mom, Carly, took him to get new shoes.

“She got me two new pairs of 14s, because it’s hard to find my size on Maui. In fact, both pairs were the last ones available. So now I’m good, I’m good to go for the Maui Football Combine on Friday.”

Hoiem is the poster-boy for the Maui Football Combine, slated for Friday at 6 p.m. at Lahainaluna Stadium. Two months ago, the junior-to-be became the first Maui Interscholastic League player to receive a Division I football scholarship offer — from Hawaii head coach Norm Chow — as an underclassmen.

Photo courtesy of HIsportsfolio.com

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