Baldwin’s Hoiem Verbally Commits to Oregon Ducks
By Rodney S. Yap
Jordan Hoiem has dreamed of being an Oregon Duck since stepping foot inside of the 54,000-seat Autzen Stadium last June.
On Tuesday, March 12, the Baldwin High School linebacker received an official offer to play football for the University of Oregon when he graduates next May.
The “official” offer came in a telephone conversation with the Ducks’ Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti at about 4 p.m. local time.
Recounting his conversation, Hoiem said Aliotti was straight to the point.
“He said, ‘You’ve got a scholarship to come play linebacker for us at Oregon.’ ”
“That’s the greatest thing I’ve heard,” Hoiem responded.
“He said, ‘You can come up here and play for us when you graduate.’ ”
“And I said, ‘I’m in there, you’ve got my word that I’m gonna play for you when I graduate. You can count on me coming up there.’ ”
Hoiem did not hesitate to make the verbal commitment because Oregon was his first choice since attending an invitation-only event hosted by Nike Football Training Camp on the Eugene, Ore. campus, June 9, 2012.
“After meeting with all of the Oregon coaches and visiting the campus, I knew in my heart that’s where I wanted to play,” said the 6-foot, 4-inch, 220-pound Hoiem.
Going into the 2012 Maui Interscholastic League football season Hoiem had already received scholarship offers from the University of Hawaii, Utah, Utah State and Nevada-Las Vegas. He is the first MIL underclassmen to receive a Division I scholarship offer, and now the first to commit as a junior.
Although his early commitment to Oregon will certainly deter other Division I schools, Hoiem is already the most heavily recruited athlete from the MIL in any sport. He was also the first sophomore football recruit from Hawaii when Warrior head coach Norm Chow made the first offer a year ago, March 6.
The world of Twitter helped Hoiem become proactive in the recruiting process on Tuesday.
“I was seeing all these kids getting offers from Oregon on Twitter and I was kind of worried that they wouldn’t offer me, so I called Coach David (Kamalani Jr.), because I knew he had talked to several of their coaches about a week ago.”
Kamalani, a Nike Master Speed Trainer for the Pacific Region since 2005, has trained Hoiem since he was in the 8th grade. Kamalani’s son, Keloni, is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools Maui, and a senior linebacker and special teams starter for the Ducks.
“I asked him, ‘Hey, what do you think, you think they are going to offer me.’ And he said, ‘Actually, I have some good news, he (Coach Jim Fisher) just called me and they just said they are going to offer you.’ ”
The coincidence was numbing, especially since Hoiem was starting to think he was going to have to look at other schools.
Hoiem called Fisher, who is the team’s Director of Player Personnel.
“And he gave me the defensive coordinator’s number coach Nick Aliotti, and I called Coach Aliotti and caught him right before he was going out to dinner.”
Hoiem, who also made an unofficial visit to the school in September while nursing a foot injury, said: “When I went up there they said I would be kind of a Dieon Jordan type linebacker, so it depends on how big I get. They said I would play outside, because I’m good in space. But I’m hopeful that if I can gain more weight that maybe I could inside, because I really love playing inside linebacker. It will all depend on how I perform when I get up there.
“I think they see me more of a pass rusher and a guy who can drop back into pass coverage and cover a lot of space.”
Hoeim said his girlfriend, Kylie Rose Dickson, who happened to be trying to call him when he was on the phone with Aliotti, was the first person to hear the news.
“She was stoked, and then I called my mom (Carly),” he said.
“This relieves a lot of stress, just to know that I am safe and I know where I’m going. This gives me a much more focused plan now that I know where I will be going.”
The 12-1 Ducks capped their season with a 35-17 victory over Kansas State in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3, equaled the best season ranking in school history by being named No. 2 in both the Associated Press and USA Today (coaches) final top 25 polls behind BCS national champion Alabama.