Oahu's Minister of Defense

Total Blue Sports fans are fully aware the Kahuku High School "Hit man," defensive back specialist Al Afalava. Afalava is one of five Hawaiian players who visited BYU on January 13th. Also among "The Hawaiian Bunch" was another heavy hitter from Oahu, a 6'2", 215 pound linebacker with 4.5 speed from Castle High School.

Blaise Soares, according to some who have played with and against him, was the toughest defensive player on Oahu. Possessing both size and speed, Soares brought the "Helmet" on every play he was involved in. Soares enjoyed his trip to BYU's campus on January 13th.

"I really enjoyed it a lot," Soares said. "Yeah, the campus and how clean it is and the facilities and I like that part too, unreal. I like the education too and how they guarantee you leave there with a degree. The graduation rate is 100% for the seniors and I like that.

"I'm being recruited by Illinois, Idaho, San Diego, BYU and Hawaii. I was supposed to go to San Diego State but my school sent them the wrong transcripts. I was pretty much sick about that one. After that the only trip I took was to BYU and then to UH. Those are the two rivalry schools right there and I don't know which one to pick."

Soares came to BYU with fellow Hawaiian's Spencer Hafoka, Al Afalava, Ikaika Moleta, Shawn Lauvao and was hosted around campus by BYU middle linebacker Matt Ah You.

"Matt Ah You was my escort. He's cool man," said Soares. "I know all the Ah You's. Oh, we had big time fun. That campus is unreal, so clean and nice. Everything is good up there. The mountains there are kind of like the Ko'olao Mountains but not as green. Kind of like home away from home."

With all the Polynesian players currently on BYU's roster, Soares felt this was another plus in the home away from home aspect he felt BYU provides.

"There's plenty [of Poly's] over there," said Soares. "I met Shawn [Nua] and he was cool. We went over to his house and he's a nice guy and all the Poly's were over there. I went to watch the practice and there was plenty of them over there."

During the regular season, Soares suffered a torn PCL ligament in his knee that caused him to miss most of the season. Despite the injury he was able to rack up some incredible numbers in only three games.

"I was doing good, I was averaging 24 tackles per-game until my third game of the season," Soares recounted. "I tore my PCL ligament and then I went out for the rest of the season and came back in the play-off and averaged 14 tackles. "I think like 67 tackles made and 1 touchdown, 6 forced fumbles and I think 5 fumble recoveries in three games. I could have done better."

So has his knee injury hampered his speed on the football field?

"No, I still got it," Soares insisted. "I just had to rehab it and then I came back just as good. I had a checkup and it's good. I've been working my legs plenty, so it's pretty much solid."

Despite only playing three regular season games, Soares still managed to make First Team All-State Hawaii his senior year. A remarkable feat he accomplished three straight years in high school.

"My sophomore year I was First Team All-State," said Soares. "My junior year East Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-State and my senior year I was East Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-State again."

Being selected First Team All-State his senior year, Soares joined another First Team All-State selection for the East vs. West All-Star game.

"Me and Al [Afalava] became close because Al was the hardest hitter at Kahuku and I was the hardest hitter for Castle, so that's how we kind of met because we are the two bangers on each side," said Soares. "That's how me and Al met. Whenever we play against each other we tried to level each other, but after that we became pretty cool friends. That was some good times."

So what is his impression of Al Afalava as a football player?

"Oh, he's mean," Soares stated emphatically. "He's nuts. I mean, we played together on the East vs. West, and he's real good player. He has real good speed and he brings it."

Soares is currently trying to square away a passing grade having missed his last attempt by 4 points and will be taking the test over again this weekend.

"No, I was 4 points shy but I'm going to take it again this Saturday [Jan 21st]," said Soares

Next weekend he will trip to the University of Hawaii and try to make a very difficult decision on where he would like to play football between the two universities.

"I really like the [BYU] campus and everything but right now I'm just having a hard time deciding," said Soares. "I gotta let God handle it and show me the way and where I need to go."

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