OSU football: Beavers maintain recruiting connection to islands

2013-09-05T20:00:00Z OSU football: Beavers maintain recruiting connection to islandsBy KEVIN HAMPTON, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times
September 05, 2013 8:00 pm  • 

Growing up in Hilo, Hawaii, Devon Kell really didn’t know much about the Oregon State football program.

That is until Kell caught the Beavers on TV during one of their wins over Southern California.

Kell liked what he saw so much that he decided to come to Corvallis.

Hawaii is fertile recruiting ground for the Beavers and getting the attention of players on the islands is always a good way to start.

On Saturday, Hawaii high school and youth football players can watch the Beavers take on University of Hawaii.

“Definitely seeing Oregon State, especially with our new uniforms and that kind of stuff, it’s going to put that in their minds,” Kell said. “It will definitely help the recruiting.”

There are currently five OSU players from Hawaii on the roster and many more have made their way through Corvallis in the past.

While there are athletes that prefer to stay in Hawaii and play for the Rainbow Warriors, many are not only open to the idea of coming to the mainland to play football, but would jump at the chance.

“Just being from Hawaii and making it out to a Pac-12 school or even the mainland, it’s big for anybody from Hawaii,” OSU defensive tackle Mana Rosa said.

“A lot of guys go to U of H because it’s close to home. But getting out of Hawaii for a little while and going to another school and trying out different life experiences, it’s just a good thing.”

OSU defensive coordinator Mark Banker is responsible for recruiting Hawaii for the Beavers.

Banker said Saturday’s game will have a good impact on recruiting if the Beavers have a good game.

“Exposure’s always good,” Banker said. “It keeps the name in front of whatever state it is and specifically because it’s so far away, that’s awesome to be able to do that.”

The Beavers have a home-and-away scheduled with the Rainbow Warriors, so they will make the trip to Honolulu next season.

That could be a boon for recruiting because the players know they will be headed back home for a game.

“For the players here and then for any future players maybe from the state of Hawaii, knowing that we’re going to go back over there and get a chance to play in front of their home fans and family, that’s huge for them,” Banker said.

“What’s good is when you’re recruiting somebody from the state of Hawaii and you have a return trip to their home state, you can say that and some other school can’t, that can be a factor in whether you get that individual or not.”

For Kell, Rosa, Titus Failauga, Manase Hungalu and Ali’i Robins, Saturday’s game gives them a chance to connect with a few friends.

Maybe some of their friends watching the broadcast will join them next season in Corvallis.

“I think they really enjoy that and it is important to them,” Banker said. “They get to play against their peer group that they grew up with playing high school football, maybe even in their neighborhood, that type of thing. So I think they look forward to this.”

Kevin Hampton is sports reporter for the Gazette-Times. He can be reached at 541-758-9519 or kevin.hampton@lee.net.

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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