By Mick Holien
The true freshman, who shook off the disappointment of an overtime sack, grew up on the next play connecting on a pocket beauty as Alabama colored the National Championship Crimson once again.
And while Tua Tagovailoa told reporters he couldn’t figure out how Nick Saban found him in the Islands, a glance at the lineage of quarterbacks in general and St Louis high School in particular quickly makes his discovery abundantly clear.
College football’s handsome young poster boy follows in some huge shoes not only including his protégé Oregon grad Marcus Mariotta but one the Grizzlies are well aware of.
Timmy Chang, who prepped at St Louis and decisioned the Grizzlies on Maui in 2001, completed his college career at UI second in NCAA history in passing yards (17,072).
The Grizzlies have plenty of ties to St Louis High where Calvin Lee handled the reins from 1982-2001.
Cal is the brother of former Griz offensive coordinator Tommy Lee, once head coach at UM-Western.
Weber quarterback Cam Higgins prepped at St Louis as did Washington State’s Jason Gesser, the 2002 Pac 10 offensive Player of the Year and now a coordinator at Idaho.
Holiday Bowl MVP Jeremiah Masolo, who played at Oregon and Ole Miss, was the 2008 Holiday MVP and also prepped at st Louis..
And last and certainly not least in quarterbacks comes Montana’s Brian Ah Yat, a Grizzly from 1995-98 who played for Iolani (Eye oh lawn ee) in Honolulu.
A finalist for the Walter Payton Award in 98 who teamed with Montana’s All American Raul Pacheco to not only post amazing passing numbers but dominate opponents beginning with a 14-1 1996 season and National Championship appearance.
Alabama might have the line on recruiting talent but Hawaii took noticing quarterbacks to a new level.
Titan Lacaden, who is in the fifth grade, recently committed to the University of Hawaii after being offered a scholarship.
But Montana’s venture to the Islands for football players started decades before this group.
Bruce Wallwork might have well been the first in 1963 and liked it so well he’s still here and John Talolutu followed in ’68 and also remains.
What is they say about recruiting-if you’re good enough they’ll find ou but let’s face it Polynesian players have made their mark in American football.
While I know I will unfortunately overlook someone here goes with those lettermen from the Islands in the last couple of decades with their first year in the program.
Brian Ah Yat (95), Randyn Akiona (99), Kelley Bryant (96), Shannon Cabunoc (88), Kamakana Kaimuloa (97), Samson Kaleikini (2012), Eleu Kane (95), Les Kent (69), Byron Lovell (68), Eric Lono (91), Trent McKinney (2012), Doug Nakoa (73), Raul Pacheco (95), Greg Paresa (67), Alvin Pelayo (58), Tonga Takai (2011), John Talolutu (68), Wade Thoemmes (89), Bruce Wallwork (61), Mike Wilson (94), Jacob Yoro (98).
Ok so here is your homework assignment. I you are one of these guys and something is incorrect with the listing please advise me so I can correct the record.
And if you are a fan and find an error please do likewise. Perusing the list was a bit exhausting but enjoyable.
I hope you agree…just sayin