Kahuku defensive back is a rising star

Hawaii is a place that BYU coaches have recruited for a long time. Over the years more and more colleges have been flocking to this paradise to find talented football players. BYU recently offered a scholarship to one of the finest defensive backs in Hawaii this year. TBS caught up with him to talk a little family, football and recruiting.

Anyone that's heard of Kahuku High School in Kahuku, Hawaii is aware that the Red Raider program has a history of sending great athletes to the Division 1 level. BYU fans are fully aware of the tradition and standard set in the Red Raider secondary. Aaron Fransisco, Al Afalava and Gary Nagy are just a few of the talented, hard-hitting safeties that Kahuku has sent onto the college level. Enter Shiloah Te'o, a rising star who is prepared to step up and continue the tradition set by those who played before him.

"I'm 5'11'', 195 [pounds]," Te'o said. "We mainly do reps to build explosiveness. I do the 185 bench press 18 times. I haven't maxed on the squat; we don't really do that. It's all about the explosiveness, everything is timed, and it's all quick. The last time I clocked a forty it was a 4.60, my best is 4.57. The forty time they [www.scout.com] have on my profile is two years old. My vertical leap is at 34 inches. As far as academics go, I have a 3.1 GPA right now."

The Red Raider program has a lot of talented athletes year-in and year-out, so a player is really special if he has the opportunity to play both ways for Kahuku. "This year I was supposed to play quarterback, but it didn't work out. I stayed on the defensive side of the ball," Te'o said. "My JV year I also played running back. This year I'll probably go both ways."

One might wonder what's in the water at Kahuku High School; they are well-known for producing hard hitting, bone crushing safeties.

"Our coach, Kala Santiago, that's our DB coach, he was Aaron Fransisco's coach too," Te'o said. "He teaches us to protect the middle. Once you let the receiver catch the ball across the middle, if you don't hit him hard, he's going to keep on doing it like he owns it. That's one of our big things, to make sure they fear us, to make sure they won't want to catch the ball in our area after we hit them."

On-the-field leadership is key in the secondary, from directing other DB's to setting the tone.

"I'm a leader on the field," Te'o said. "I like to talk to my teammates to make sure everything is going right so we can execute the play properly. We want to know what the offense is doing at all times. I'm able to read the quarterback pretty well. I like to fly around to the ball and make the big hit."

While it isn't the heart of the recruiting season at this point in time, colleges are starting to take notice of Te'o.

"BYU has offered me," Te'o said. "Stanford is showing interest. USC has sent some stuff. It's not strong interest like other schools though. I always wanted to go to USC, but whatever school best fits me is the school I'll go to. BYU, Colorado, Washington and Stanford are showing the most interest right now. Utah is looking at me too."

Often times BYU recruits have ties to the school, whether it be family or friends or just simply the fact that the athlete is LDS.

"I have family that lives in Utah and I'm LDS," Te'o stated. "I don't know a lot about BYU though. My uncle, Mark Atuaia, played for BYU. Itula Mili, my other uncle, also played for BYU. I talked to my uncle, Itula, a little bit about BYU recruiting me. I'm pretty sure Mark knows. BYU wasn't really in my plans because they weren't really looking at me my whole junior year when other schools were coming on strong, but then BYU's head coach, Bronco Mendenhall, came down to my school and they called my dad down to the office. That's when BYU offered a scholarship. That's the first time I heard from BYU, and then they sent the papers and stuff. I didn't hear anything from BYU all season, but then they came down, saw my film, and offered me a scholarship. I believe that was sometime in January. I'm going to strongly consider BYU. They were my first offer. I don't have a problem with the honor code, that doesn't bother me at all. I've got family in Utah, but like I said, I'm going to wait and see what school best fits me, then I will decide. I want to go to a school where I can play my freshman year. I want to have the opportunity to be able to fight for a position."

Going into his senior season, Te'o knows that he has a lot on his shoulders to represent Kahuku and those great DB's that have roamed the Red Raider secondary in the past.

"It's a privilege to play DB at Kahuku, especially after these great DB's that have come through here. There are high expectations here, especially going into your senior year. I have to go out and work hard every day. You've been waiting to get that spot since you were a little kid. You hope to live up to the challenge. They set a standard. It's all up to you; they don't force us. The best player plays on the field. Kahuku is full of athletes. Even though I started last year I still have to fight for my position this year; these underclassmen are good."

As Shiloah prepares for the upcoming season he plans on going to a few camps, even coming through Utah for a camp and possible visits to some of the local schools.

"I'm going to the USC Rising Seniors Camp. I'll be at the All-Poly camp up in Utah. My uncle, Alema Tau, runs that camp. BYU told me I don't need to come to their camp. I'll probably come down and visit the University of Utah and BYU when I come for the All-Poly camp though."

TBS will follow up with Shiloah as he prepares for his senior campaign and summer camps in California and Utah.

Check out Shiloah's junior highlights, including his game-winning touchdown pass on the final play of the semifinal game in the Hawaii state tournament last year, at the following address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1feTWqAYL1U

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