Defensive lineman Maurice Ta‘ala will join Hawaii football in 2020

Defensive lineman Maurice Ta‘ala (right, with Faga‘itua teammate Dyson Moana) will be joining the Warriors in 2020. / Hawaii Prep World photo by Nick Abramo

Defensive lineman Maurice Ta‘ala of Faga‘itua High (Aua, American Samoa) told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser he has accepted a scholarship offer from the Warriors. Here’s the skinny:

> Familiar name? Ta‘ala’s older brother is nose tackle Blessman Ta‘ala, who has started all 19 games of his UH career.

> The elder Ta‘ala encouraged his brother to 1) first sign up for football, and 2) to join the Warriors. “I want to take the path my brother took,” Maurice Ta‘ala said.

> He said he is 6 feet 1 and 305 pounds.

> He played center, offensive tackle, running back and defensive tackle for the Vikings. He is projected to compete at nose tackle or 3-technique tackle for the Warriors.

> Faga‘itua played Kamehameha in August.

> In case you missed that game, check this out: Ta‘ala video

> He will sign on Dec. 18, the first day of the NCAA’s early-signing period for football prospects.

> The 2020 class:
Ezra Evaimalo, linebacker, Kamehameha School
Kilohana Haasenritter, receiver, Hilo HS
Micah Soliai Howlett, offensive lineman, Kahuku HS
Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala, receiver, Campbell HS
Matthew Shipley, kicker, Liberty Hill
Jake Tuatagaloa, offensive linemann, Mililani HS


  1. kapakahi October 3, 2019 6:58 am

    Numero Uno!

  2. A-House October 3, 2019 7:01 am

    ‘all in the family!’ gotta love it!!!

  3. kapakahi October 3, 2019 7:17 am

    Despite pre-season rhetoric that Evaimalo would play some stand-up OLB this season for Kamehameha-Kapalama, Ezra has played strictly as a down DE in the Warrior’s 3-man front this season…..unlike his former teammate & current Warrior Jonah Kahahawai-Welch who played both down DE and stand-up OLB his senior season for the Warriors. As such, just don’t see Evaimalo playing hybrid DE/OLB at the next level for UH……but instead see Ezra eventually playing the “bandit” DE position.

  4. Kahuna October 3, 2019 9:17 am

    #3…that not a given. If you watched the UH defense these past few weeks, there have been many “funky” formations where many defenders were placed in different spots.

    Padello have been moved off the line in certain packages and on the line in others. I also saw DE Derrick Thomas in Padello’s spot too(on the line and also off the line).

    If Ezra is versatile and can play multiple spots, there could be multiple positions for him to play in certain packages.

  5. Denz Batchelor October 3, 2019 9:26 am

    I am not local. But, I know more than the average haole about Oahu, kauai, and the Big island. I was an Athletic Trainer at San Jose State and Stanford, paddled canoe at Lilioukalani 5x and practiced with our sister club in Kauai. I love the Ohana I receive every time I travel there. Mahalo

  6. sackkabooya October 3, 2019 9:45 am

    I think with the progression of the underclassmen on the current roster I can see the 2020 class really needing only 3 or 4 JC recruits. One DT (Hune”s role), one cover corner (Fariss’ role), one strong safety (Hicks’ role) and maybe one more speed coverage DB. All other positions seem to have a good, ably skilled replacement for the 23 seniors who will leave. Plus this staff has done pretty good finding JC guys who fit right in the system both offense and defense. Awesome design to the recruiting system. Phase III coming.

  7. sackkabooya October 3, 2019 9:53 am

    Yeah, Batoon’s scheme is complex. I think once he can plug in the right fits it’s going to be awesome-er. Imagine. We did need one more Taala type player but this is “literal”. Big picture forming.

  8. H-Man October 3, 2019 10:36 am

    Another Ta’ala at NT. Great news !!!

  9. Maddog50 October 3, 2019 11:19 am

    If you can watch the Boise/Unlv game. I figure they will totally dismantle them. UNLV is a dumpster fire right now. We will have more than a good chance to win if we show up- Crisp, disciplined, and dedicated. Some of the young talent is developing as we speak! GoWarriors!!!

  10. kapakahi October 3, 2019 11:47 am


    Yup…..not a given…..JMHO……though probably likely.

    Padello & Thomas both play the “hybrid” DE/OLB position and line up either in a down DE position, stand-up DE position (either on the line of scrimmage OR behind the line of scrimmage)…….while the “bandit” DE position (played by Vega, Pumba, & Laulu) is played more in the down DE position and less in the stand-up DE position (on the line of scrimmage).

  11. kapakahi October 3, 2019 11:57 am

    Meant to say…..

    Padello & Thomas both play the “hybrid” DE/OLB position and line up EITHER in a down DE position, in a stand-up DE position (on the line of scrimmage) OR in the stand-up OLB position (behind the line of scrimmage).

  12. winning October 3, 2019 2:25 pm

    If UH gets down early the acid test will be if they will respond and not panic, especially the QB position. Everybody else should be poised and ready to R & Roll. We’ll see if they can rise up. Better yet Get ahead early, step on the gas and turn on the Nitrous Oxide.

  13. Da Punchbowl Kid October 3, 2019 4:22 pm

    Love when brothers play together, especially bulls like the Ta’alas. Hope we get to see them playing together.

    Welcome Maurice!

  14. Da Punchbowl Kid October 3, 2019 4:54 pm

    I hope we get to see the Ta’alas playing on the same d-line in one of our games, I meant to say above in # 13. When was the last time that happened?

    Sackkabooya – “Phase III coming.” I’ve been thinking about that too, glad you mentioned it. It will be awesome, like pretty much every one of your posts.

  15. wafan October 3, 2019 4:57 pm

    Wow, zapped. It has been a while since the button was last used.

  16. wafan October 3, 2019 5:00 pm

    The incoming class is starting to take shape.

  17. Da Punchbowl Kid October 3, 2019 5:08 pm

    #15 – This blog is a place where shaka signs mean aloha and nothing more.

    Live Aloha, Play Warrior!

  18. islandman October 3, 2019 8:09 pm

    Which basketbow is injured ?

  19. tom-warriornation October 3, 2019 9:21 pm

    Got this email from Rolo early this year:

    I wanted to take a moment and thank you for spearheading the creation and consistent monitoring of the Warrior Nation account. The current funds will go towards supplementing our recruiting budget. With the addition of a 10th coach by the NCAA, we saw the impact on multiple budget lines, but none greater than in recruiting. Also, the impact you make with our away crowd is fantastic. This team has a special feeling about it, excited to see what we are during spring ball. I hope all is well with you and all of our Warrior faithful. Hope you and your crew enjoyed the SJSU post game festivities in the stands! Look forward to talking again soon.

    Best Wishes and Aloha,
    Nick Rolovich
    Head Football Coach
    University of Hawaii
    University of Hawai’i at Manoa Athletics – Official Athletics Website
    Nick Rolovich (@NickRolovich) | Twitter
    The official athletics website for the University of Hawai’i at Manoa Rainbow Warriors
    The latest Tweets from Nick Rolovich (@NickRolovich). Head Coach at University of Hawai‘i #LiveAlohaPlayWarrior….

    Fast forward to 10-3-19; our UH team has an amazing 4-1 record, and is ranked ahead of USC & other Power-5 schools but we need to keep recruiting better players to keep up with the BIG BOYS.

    Can you help me reach my goal by making a $25 donation to the UH Foundation Fund I created for UH Football recruiting–see below link.
    If 2000 fans do this, we will raise $50,000. So far, I got 981 donors ($24,525), so only 1019 more donors to go!

    After donating, text me your name to 415-324-0585 or email your receipt to:
    Mahalo, and pls share this with all of your fellow fans.
    Tom Kitaguchi, founder of Hawaii Football Warrior Nation Facebook group (over 3700 members).

  20. Inyoface October 3, 2019 11:09 pm

    I like that we have a shifty running back in Miles Reed. I don’t think I remember Hawaii having a back like that, for the most part they are hit the hole running downhill backs. I think Reed is a serious threat in the backfield that can keep the defense off balance especially since Cole can also run.

  21. sackkabooya October 4, 2019 12:40 am

    #14 Da Punchbowl Kid

    Thanks DPK, love your posts too. Everyone’s posts (even Chicken Grease’s droll, sardonic style) absolutely love it (especially Maddog’s insight). Post when you have time, anybody. Everybody.

  22. Maddog50 October 4, 2019 2:04 am

    Boise is a 22 point favorite vs UNLV. Coach Harsin is not happy with his teams effort YTD. They lost top tackler MLB to an ACL tear vs. Air Force. They look to return starting LT and safety this week or next. UNLV is also nursing injuries to QB Rogers and top RB Williams both with knee issues. They may play. I look for Boise to thrash the Rebels, if not all is not well in Broncoville-it won’t matter either way, as I still say if the Nevada mindset is repeated by us in Boise with an uptick by us we are in this game till the end. Boise has to prove they are a better team than the one that has struggled at times. Ya I know they beat a good Air Force team by 11 but game was a lot closer than score-GoWarriors

  23. Da Punchbowl Kid October 4, 2019 5:58 am

    # 14 sackkabooya –

    I wonder if phase III will see more of Hekili Li’iliki in the run game. Loved his long run against the Pack – flattening a DB and sprinting down the field. I’ve watched practices and spring games the last few years and there has been a steady rise in the quality of recruits and coaching. Boise is going to be fun to watch!

  24. Inyoface October 4, 2019 10:47 am

    I also see Fred Holly running with more confidence as the season goes on. Beat Boise!!!!!

  25. sackkabooya October 4, 2019 12:10 pm


    I think as Keliiliki gets more reps and finds his niche in this system he will be awesome as a runner, similar to Iosefa. Hekili might not run with the same kind of intensity as Joey did (he will later though I think), but he has that same punishing style that can wear down (mentally) second level defenders. Especially if he can find space in the open field. Different from Furuta’s style. More able to evade “chop” tacklers in the open field because he lowers his shoulder (one run vs Washington and that good one vs Nevada) as opposed to Furuta who lowers his torso and braces his upper body to “hammer” defender. Plus he looks like he will be a real good blocker too. Contrasts well with Reed and Holly (and even with Furuta). I hope we see more of him. But I think Rolo is not really in a rush to implement yet. Phase III piece for sure though. NFL FB/H one day I think (Baltimore still uses one). Awesome.

  26. clyde October 4, 2019 12:22 pm

    Inyoface: Agree. I thought Holly ran with more confidence and blocked with more authority against Nevada than he had all season. Hopefully, he’s taken a step forward and can sustain it the rest of the season.

  27. kalua pig October 4, 2019 12:45 pm

    i think holly got the wake up call with the emergence of reed.holly looked all business at the nevada game.

  28. sackkabooya October 4, 2019 1:15 pm

    Some observations

    I thought on the 4th down run that Keliiliki had (in RPO) where he lost about 3 yards Corderio should have pulled that and ran. Maybe he was instructed not to (IDK?) but he had only one guy to beat for TD.

    Fred Holly is a pretty solid blocker (you can hear the contact almost every time) in between the tackles. Its vs the outside rush that he has problems executing. He did do much better Nevada game.

    I always wondered what the offense would look like if UH had the kind of running back that San Diego St always has. Jump Cutter. It looks pretty awesome. And only scratching the surface scheme wise with him. Just secure the ball so can stay on the field.

    Once Corderio gets more comfortable with his timing from the pocket (arm strength ability vs WR separation) he will be unreal. Looked a little (just a little, not like Mariota) hesitant vs Nevada. But once he moves around, gets in a comfortable space and can wind up his arm is unbelievable (like Milton). But got to get more comfortable from the pocket first. Unreal soon.

  29. Andrew October 4, 2019 2:29 pm

    Let’s hope that Cincinnati pulls off the upset on UCF

  30. Andrew October 4, 2019 5:40 pm

    And upset it is. Thank you Cinci

  31. islandman October 4, 2019 6:35 pm

    Why is A2 not practicing with the basketbows, apparently?

  32. Da Punchbowl Kid October 4, 2019 6:58 pm

    sackkabooya –

    You articulate well. I think a lot similar things as you, but can’t express them as well. You REALLY know what you’re talking about. Lotsa posters here do.

    I agree with those who say Holly is coming into his own. Phase III rolls.

  33. sackkabooya October 4, 2019 10:57 pm


    Takes me about 30 to 45 minutes to write most of my posts. And my vocabulary is Google 100% (maybe 75% actually). Thanks for the kind words. Lots of good varying points of view here. Gives everyone a better perspective. Keep posting everybody. And Let’s Go Warriors.

  34. Inyoface October 4, 2019 11:31 pm

    Hope to see Cole at the Heisman ceremony with Tua at the end of year.

  35. Da Punchbowl Kid October 5, 2019 12:49 am

    #34 Inyoface –

    I’ll drink to that!

    And no, this is not a drunken post! LOL!

  36. Maddog50 October 5, 2019 6:17 am

    Gonna overdose on Warrior opponents game SJSUvsNM. Army/Tulane San Diego State, Air Force and finally Boise vs the non Rebels!

  37. sackkabooya October 5, 2019 10:42 am

    I was hoping Army would come in here on their Dec 1 game against UH with a 10-1 record (24-21 2OT loss to Michigan). They lost to Tulane today at home 42-33. Tulane is pretty legit (#36 AP only loss at Auburn 24-6). Army was #29 in AP voting.

  38. Andrew October 5, 2019 3:02 pm

    Arizona now 4-1, 2-0 in PAC 12. That win is looking better and better each week

  39. Andrew October 5, 2019 3:05 pm

    Tulsa beating undefeated #24 SMU 23-9. The more the AAC teams beat each other up the better

  40. cappie the dog October 5, 2019 5:21 pm

    Hawaii is the last ranked team that Tulsa beat. Here comes the field goal attempt.

  41. Stephen Tsai October 5, 2019 6:27 pm

    New post:

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