The Warriors received their first commitment for the 2019 class with Kaimana “Bubz” Wa‘a’s pledge. Here’s the skinny:
> Homecoming: Wa‘a lived in Hau‘ula until he was 8. Then his family moved to Corvallis, Ore., to be closer to his uncle (his mom’s brother) Jeremy Perry, an offensive lineman for the Beavers. Wa‘a will be a senior this fall at Crescent Valley High — known as “CV” — in Corvallis. Wa‘a has family — lots of family — on the North Shore. “I miss my family the most,” Wa‘a said of his homecoming, “and the food is second. I miss Hawaiian food in general. You don’t see that in Oregon.”
> Banker investment: Here’s how the football cycle works. In what was an awkward ceremony at Kahuku in 2004, Perry signed a letter of intent with UH. But he had second — and third — thoughts and never submitted the paperwork. He then signed a letter with Oregon State. At the time, defensive coordinator Mark Banker was OSU’s point recruiter in Hawaii. Banker developed a close friendship with Perry and his family, including Wa‘a. Banker is now UH’s assistant head coach/linebackers coach. “I have a long relationship with Coach Banker,” Wa‘a said in explaining part of his college choice.
> Family ties: One of Wa‘a’s first cousins is John Wa‘a, who never missed a practice in five years as a multi-purpose offensive lineman for UH. Another cousin is Jonah Kahahawai-Welch, a defensive end from Kamehameha-Kapalama who officially joins UH in two weeks.
> Middle man: As a junior, Wa‘a was effective as a defensive lineman and an offensive tackle. At a recent combine-like camp, Wa‘a was praised for footwork, agility, strength and football IQ. Defense or offense? And if it’s offense, where? At 6 feet 2 and 294 pounds, Wa‘a has the skills to play guard (John Wa‘a’s position) or even tackle (where Dejon Allen, at an inhale away from 6-3, played his final two UH seasons). But the Warriors view Wa‘a as a center because of all the previously noted qualities. This is an ideal situation where a need pick and a best-available choice are the same person.