One of our favorites from the 2007 Warriors was Francis Maka, a reserve DE/OLB and key special-teams player. Maka played two years at UH, earned a degree in mathematics, and enjoyed a substantial career in arena football. It all started with Maka’s desire to join the Warriors primarily as a specialist. Everyone has a role, and UH offered Maka a scholarship to set wedges on returns and dismantle blocks.
Through the years there have been many Warriors whose best roles have been as role players — Ryan Keomaka, Jordan Monico, Josh Donovan, Dejaun Butler … In every successful band, not everyone can be a lead singer.
All of which brings us to Aoese “AJ” Oto-Lemamea, who joins the Warriors in July as a walk-on safety. Lemamea is regarded as a hard worker and hitter who found several ways to contribute to Fullerton College’s 2016 JUCO national championship last year. The hope is Oto-Lemamea will help UH as a hybrid safety who can play in the box and compete on special teams.
“I would love to play special teams,”said Oto-Lemamea, who is 5 feet 11 and 205 pounds.”Anything to help the team.”
Fullerton teammate Emil Graves is part of the Warriors’ 2017 recruiting class. Oto-Lemamea’s paternal grandmother lives in Hawaii, a factor in his UH decision.
As an NCAA qualifier out of high school, Oto-Lemamea will have three years to play two UH seasons.
He said he moves to Hawaii on July 21, five days ahead of the opening of training camp. In the meantime, he continues to train. One of his workouts is to jog from his Oxnard home to Port Hueneme Beach, where he will run and do footwork drills on the sand.
“I like to hang out with my family and work out,” he said.