Farrington’s Abel Hoopii ready for bigger ventures; commits to SMU

Farrington’s Abel Hoopii ready for bigger ventures; commits to SMU

Farrington’s Abel Hoopii ready for bigger ventures; commits to SMU

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO
PUBLISHED JULY 10, 2024

Standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing 330 pounds, Abel Hoopii will be a seamless fit in the state where everything is bigger.

The Farrington offensive lineman will be playing his collegiate career in the state of Texas after making a commitment to play for Southern Methodist University next year in a live-streamed event at Skippa Diaz Stadium at Kusunoki Field before a crowd of about 50 Monday afternoon.

“It’s feeling real good,” Hoopii said. “Me and my family, we’ve been stressing every single day on where I think I will go, but it’s been a good journey, God is good.”

The SMU Mustangs earned Hoopii’s commitment over a list of top four schools that included Hawai’i, San Jose State and the University of Texas at San Antonio. 

“I think it was the coaching staff. We went down to pros and cons. We did all those stuff and it felt like home over there,” Hoopii said of the Dallas-based university. “They’re trying to get a Polynesian starting five (on the offensive line), so let’s do it.”

Hoopii added that his decision wasn’t made until the day of his commitment event.

“I was up till 5 a.m. last night because I couldn’t sleep and I had to go to summer school,” he said. “It went down till today actually, because I really wanted to… I had a vision of me staying home (and play for Hawai’i) and all that stuff, but I know if I moved out there to SMU, I would have better opportunities and hopefully make it to the NFL if that’s what God has for me.

“The place is so beautiful and Dallas, Texas… everything is bigger in Texas and being from such a small island, more bigger places and bigger things to do out there.”

It’s been a whirlwind journey for Hoopii, who helped Kahuku win a state title last fall before transferring to Farrington in the offseason. Hoopii also boosted his recruiting stock in the offseason through hard work at various national events.

Being able to provide a better life for his family has been a driving motivator for Hoopii.

“Getting to this moment, the hard work and that I just kept thinking and thinking that I have to get my family off this island. My mom, she’s always been with me. Since my dad left us when I was younger, my mom, she’s always been working hard trying to feed me and my brothers. I’m just trying to make sure she’s good nowadays. Retire her hopefully.”

QB Jaron Keawe Sagapolutele commits to Cal: “It’s just a surreal feeling”

QB Jaron Keawe Sagapolutele commits to Cal: “It’s just a surreal feeling”

QB Jaron Keawe Sagapolutele commits to Cal: “It’s just a surreal feeling”

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO
PUBLISHED JULY 9, 2024

From James Campbell High School to the University of California, Berkeley.

Quarterback Jaron Keawe Sagapolutele made his commitment to play for the Cal Golden Bears at Campbell’s gymnasium Monday afternoon before a crowd of nearly 100 people in an event that was livestreamed on 247Sports.

Sagapolutele, rated as the No. 1 prospect in the state for the class of 2025, said that the moment was a “surreal feeling.”

“I’m just happy that the process is finally over. I’m just able to lock in on one school,” said Sagapolutele. “It’s just truly a blessing from God that I was able to receive an opportunity and blessing like this.”

Cal won over the likes of Boise State, Oregon State and Utah State, who were in his final top four choices. Sagapolutele also recently picked up offers from Washington, Southern Methodist, Washington State and Colorado in recent weeks after a standout showing at the Elite 11 camp, the nation’s premier quarterback competition.

The left-handed signal-caller was able to see his future campus first hand during an official visit on June 20. Sagopolutele added that the Golden Bears’ “culture and coaching staff” with head coach Justin Wilcox, offensive coordinator Mike Bloesch and quarterbacks coach Sterlin Gilbert was a big deciding factor.

“Those guys, they recruited me hard ever since I received the offer. Just the whole coaching staff being able to come see me throw is just truly an honor and a blessing.”

During the livestream of the event, 247Sports National Recruiting Analyst 247Sports Greg Biggins raved about Sagapolutele’s arm talent and his potential at being an NFL quarterback someday. Sagapolutele now goes to a school that has produced NFL quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Jared Goff.

“I’d say it’s truly a great blessing to be able to be compared and just be able to go to a school that’s produced high-caliber QBs,” Sagapolutele said. “Hopefully I can continue that style of play of high-caliber QBs. Hopefully I just do my thing and be the best QB out there.”

Sagapolutele said it was important to make a decision on his college future so he can lock in for his final season at Campbell.

“It’s definitely a burden off my shoulders now, definitely I just want to finish out my last year with the boys. I just want to make sure we’re locked in for the season. We’re all in this year. I’d say definitely our team bond is definitely tighter this year. We’ve been working hard. I’m just so grateful now that the process is done. I’m not going to be missing any more practices, I’m here and we’re going to try and make this run.”

Local Hawai’i prep football Class of 2025 recruiting tracker

Local Hawai’i prep football Class of 2025 recruiting tracker

Local Hawai’i prep football Class of 2025 recruiting tracker

BY HSRN Staff
PUBLISHED JULY 8, 2024

From Friday nights to College game days.

The class of 2025 in the state of Hawai’i is shaping out to be a loaded group with many top players already having made verbal commitments to play on the next level. More players will make their commitments in the coming weeks.

Hawai’i Sports Radio Network will have you updated with all the latest information and where everyone is going (listed alphabetically).

VERBAL COMMITMENTS

QB — Liatama Amisone, Kapolei
San Jose State-commit

LB — Max Fonoimoana, Kahuku
Utah-commit

IOL — Javian Goo, Kapolei
Arizona-commit

IOL — Abel Hoopii, Farrington
SMU-commit

LB — Isaiah Iosefa, Waipahu
Arizona State-commit

IOL — Houston Kaahaaina-Torres, Saint Louis
Nebraska-commit

IOL — Jordan Kernaghan, Campbell
Hawai’i-commit

LB — Ko’o Kia, Punahou
Notre Dame-commit

WR — Titan Lacaden, Saint Louis
Hawai’i-commit

LB — Żaden Mariteragi, Farrington
Hawai’i-commit

QB — Kini McMillan, Mililani
Washington-commit

LB — Aisiah Paogofie, Campbell
Hawai’i-commit

EDGE — Benjamin Roberts, Kahuku
Nevada-commit

QB — Jaron-Keawe Sagapolutele, Campbell
California-commit

SAF — Donte Utu, Punahou
Stanford-commit

EDGE — Lebron Williams, Kahuku
California-commit

UNCOMITTED

RB — Sylas Alaimalo, Damien

LB — Fale Atuaia, Kahuku

ATH — Mana Carvalho, Kahuku

OT — Spencer Evans, Kahuku

DL — Hunter Ho, Saint Louis

IOL — Kaikoa Kanakaole, Kapaa

IOL — Noa Lemau, Kapolei

LB — Roy Maafala Jr., Saint Louis

SAF — Aiden Manutai, Kahuku

OT — Manamo’ui Muti, Leilehua

LB — Elijah Nua, Mililani

EDGE — Chevy Robinson, Mililani

WR — Onosa’i Salanoa, Mililani

EDGE — Pupualii Sepulona, Saint Louis

EDGE — Vincent Tautua, Saint Louis

DL — Fale Timoteo, Campbell

WR — Tana Togafau-Tavui, Mililani

CB — Zanden Willis, Saint Louis

*email michaelhsrn@outlook.com or text (808) 888-5481 for any additions or corrections
247Sports Brandon Huffman to hold free football recruiting seminar at Moanalua

247Sports Brandon Huffman to hold free football recruiting seminar at Moanalua

247Sports National recruiting editor Brandon Huffman will be on O’ahu on Wednesday, July 10 to put on a football recruiting seminar for high school athletes of all ages. While free, attendees are asked to bring small donations of school supplies.

247Sports Brandon Huffman to hold free football recruiting seminar at Moanalua

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED JULY 8, 2024

HONOLULU – After over 20 years of experience in the college football recruiting space, 247Sports National Recruiting Editor Brandon Huffman has a good handle on what it takes to make it to the next level on the gridiron. 

The Polynesian Bowl selection committee member has also seen his fair share of talent come out of the islands, remembering the early days of receiving emails from current Washington Commanders quarterback and former Saint Louis School standout Marcus Mariota to get ranked and rated in a time that Hawai’i wasn’t known for skill-position players or anyone at quarterback. 

Safe to say, times have changed during his career. 

Huffman attended the final Under Armour Next camp on Saturday, July 6 over on Maui’s King Kekaulike high school campus, seeing much of Hawai’i’s top talent for 2025, 2026, 2027 and 2028 recruiting classes. Among those in attendance was Farrington offensive lineman Abel Hoopii, who dominated during the camp to the point of earning an invitation to the 2025 Under Armour Next All-American game after earning OL MVP honors and being named “Alpha Dog” of the camp.  

In total, three invites to the Under Armour All-American game were given to players who attended the camp in Hoopii and Arizona State linebacker commit Isaiah Iosefa joining top offensive lineman recruit and Nebraska commit Houston Kaahaaina-Torres with invites to the prestigious event. Kaahaaina-Torres received his invitation for the 2025 Under Armour All-American game last year during the ESPN 300 Elite Hawaii Camp on Maui. 

Huffman now visits O’ahu for the commitment announcements of Hoopii, Campbell QB Jaron Keawe-Sagapolutele and a few other top recruits from the islands and will hold a free football recruiting seminar at Moanalua High School gym on Wednesday, July 10 for players of all ages from any school. The only request is to bring a small donation of school supplies for those in need for any players planning to attend. 

“This is one of those things where, by being in the recruiting space for 22 years and seeing the variations of where it was in 2003 when I first started covering recruiting to 2024 where social media has become such a huge part of it, where NIL is a huge part of it … I’ve got a lot of bandwidth over the years in terms of information I’ve been able to glean,” Huffman said. “It’s what you have to do [to be recruited and play at the next level].” 

In all, the seminar will touch on topics such as what the rankings and stars of recruiting mean, how to get recruited if you are non-varsity, 7-on-7 and lineman training, what offers and visits mean for recruits and much more. In conjunction with the National Football Foundation’s Hawai’i chapter, Huffman plans to give the encyclopedia of knowledge he’s accumulated over more than two decades about sending kids from the high school to college level. 

247Sports national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman will hold a free recruiting clinic for football players on Wednesday, July 10 at 1:00 p.m. at Moanalua HS gym. A small donation of school supplies for those in need is requested from attendees. | Photo Credit: Hawaii High School P.R.O. Day (@808ProDay / via X)

 

Hawai’i football shifting the tides in local recruiting (and people are noticing)

Huffman joined Hawai’i Sports Radio Network to discuss the free recruiting seminar and the camp highlights from Saturday on Maui but touched on Hawai’i football recruiting and a multitude of topics as well. 

The national recruiting editor for 247Sports mentioned being a fan of the strategy employed by Hawai’i head coach Timmy Chang and his staff in recruiting, putting an emphasis on retaining talent that comes from the islands and recruiting at home while still putting the program’s name in the running for various prospects across the continent.  

“I love it,” Huffman said of the talent in the state of Hawai’i. “[The state of Hawai’i] will never be California because it doesn’t have the depth, it may not be Arizona because it doesn’t have the population, but Hawai’i is pushing Arizona and Utah for the number two state out west in terms of top-end talent … You’ve seen the state go from this thought that it’s only lineman to if I want to find a dude, it doesn’t matter what the position is, I’m going to find one [in Hawai’i].” 

In Chang, Huffman also believes that Hawai’i has found a captain to steer the ship in the right direction not just on the field, but in the way he has recruited.  

“You have to understand Hawai’i to recruit to Hawai’i, to coach at Hawai’i,” Huffman said. “You cannot get any more into the fabric of Honolulu, of the island, of UH football than Timmy Chang. It was a tremendous hire … [he took lumps early] but there was never a backing down from him. He wanted to go toe-to-toe with the big boys.” 

While some of those recruiting battles with the “big boys” of the Power 4 conferences don’t go in the favor of Hawai’i, Huffman lauded the staff’s ability to understand the importance of keeping those relationships alive for the future. 

[Chang’s staff] understands that with the local kids that are higher profile, they might leave and go to the mainland to go to school, but they never burn those bridges,” he said. “If he doesn’t like it, if it doesn’t work out, [the player] can come back here and can thrive and Timmy gets that.” 

Huffman has spent plenty of time evaluating prospects from Hawai’i, serving as a recruiting director for the west coast for a substantial portion of his career in sports. Despite gaining national notoriety for his time on the scene for recruiting, Huffman’s greatest venture is his non-profit, the Avery Huffman DIPG Foundation. 

The Avery Huffman DIPG Foundation was established in 2016 to honor the courage, fight and legacy of Brandon Huffman’s 7-year-old daughter Avery, who passed away in February of 2016 after 7-and-a-half-month battle with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). DIPG is the deadliest form of brain cancer, a rare terminal tumor of the brainstem that occurs almost exclusively in children. 

You can click here for more information about the foundation, how you can donate and more to help in the fight against DIPG.