Spencer Hafoka Emerging as Hawaii's No. 1 Recruit

Last year's top LDS wide receiver, <b>Austin Collie</b>, hailed from Oak Ridge High in Northern California. This year's top LDS wideout prospect comes from the unlikeliest of places, Kahuku High in Hawaii, and BYU seemingly has an excellent chance to land him.

That's because Spencer Hafoka, a 6-0, 180 pound wide receiver with reported 4.3/40 speed, has an older brother Saia Hafoka suiting up this fall as a BYU true freshman. Also, his two favorite uncles, Tevita and Kalepi Ofahengaue (mother's younger brothers), were both Cougar football stalwarts under former coach LaVell Edwards.

Kahuku's Red Raiders, long noted for its numerous Div. 1-caliber defensive linemen, offensive linemen and defensive players, won the Hawaii State Prep Bowl last season against perennial state contender St. Louis School – in what many described as the best-ever championship game in high school history. The Red Raiders erased a 14-point deficit to defeat St. Louis 27-26 in their come-from-behind victory. St. Louis had won 15 state championships since 1986, but it was Kahuku's fourth Prep Bowl victory in five years.

In the OIA (public school) championship game, Kahuku demolished longtime rival Farrington High 35-7 and Hafoka recorded six catches for 133 yards and a late fourth-quarter touchdown. Against St. Louis, he registered two receptions for 62 yards and had one touchdown called back. "I had a touchdown during the championship game, but the refs didn't call it a catch," said Hafoka. Kahuku's unlikely comeback against a powerful St. Louis team came off a losing season the year before. "Everyone pretty much trained a lot harder and our off-season workouts were a lot better. Everyone didn't want to go through that same feeling we went through. We know that it was from hard work and sacrifice," Hafoka said.

Spencer recalled his season stats from last year as "about 29 receptions for 1,020 yards and eight or nine touchdowns."

Some media pundits consider Hafoka the No. 1 recruit in Hawaii this year and he has received corresponding recruiting attention from major colleges in Pac-10, Big 12, MWC and WAC. He stated that he doesn't have a list of top schools yet and will take his time during the recruiting process. "I don't know," Hafoka said. "I'm not really sure and I'm still looking it over."

He mentioned by name "Hawaii, BYU, Utah, Colorado and Oregon State" – schools he's interested in, but his coach, Siuaki Livai, seems to be pulling for Penn State, which Hafoka did not mention in an interview.

However, he provided an inkling of his decision-making priorities: "Somewhere not too far away from home. Some place where I can continue to go to Church and still have the same feeling of home," said Hafoka.

With their recent gridiron success under coach June Jones, Hawaii is an obvious strong contender with family and location being important considerations. "Yeah, kind of, but I hear they practice on Sundays. I'm not really sure. I'm just going to wait," he said.

The Hafoka family is very connected to their LDS religious roots, particularly since his older brother, Saia, returned less than two months ago from an LDS mission to Nicaragua. Spencer plans to follow in his brother's footsteps as a missionary.

"Now that he's (Saia) back, I've been working out with him. We run sprints, ladders and drills," said Spencer.

With close family living in Provo and strong BYU ties as an LDS institution, Spencer admits the Cougars have an emotional advantage over other schools right now. One of the BYU summer camp standouts last year, Hafoka tentatively plans to attend the BYU camp again this year shortly after his brother moves to Provo.

His uncle, Kalepi Ofahengaue, is one of his most influential family advisers in terms of deciding which football camps and colleges he will visit during the recruiting process.

"Most likely I'll go (BYU camp). I'll talk to uncle Kalepi (Ofahengaue) and he will tell me where to go, but pretty much I think I'll be there," Hafoka said.

His combination of size and speed is what makes him such an attractive football prospect. Along with current BYU wide receiver signee, Austin Collie, Hafoka was one of the top BYU camp performers last year where he clocked a 4.4/40.

This year, he's looking forward to a few campus surprises in Provo. "When I was there (last summer), they were still building it (indoor practice facility). I've heard a lot about it," said Hafoka.

© copyright by TotalBlueSports.com

Total Blue Sports Top Stories