Honolulu (HI) Kamehameha linebacker Tainoa Foster has speed and athleticism at linebacker that has caught the attention of the University of Hawaii, and more recently, coaches on the mainland have begun recruiting him as well.
The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors program was the first to offer Foster, which was a surreal moment for Foster.
“Oh, that was exciting; it was really exciting,” Foster said. “Being from Hawaii, growing up, everybody thinks ‘I want to play for UH.’ I really couldn’t believe it. I never thought I’d get offered through my junior year, but it came through. I’m real thankful.”
Foster grew up going to the games and even watched his cousin, defensive lineman Elliot Purcell, suit up in kelly green. Foster is also close friends with UH redshirt freshman defensive lineman Ka’aumoana Gifford. Gifford also hails from Kamehameha High School.
“I go to a lot of their home games,” Foster said. “My older cousin actually played for UH. I remember going to the games and playing with those inflatable things that made loud noises.”
Hawaii Head Coach Norm Chow, defensive coordinator Tom Mason and linebackers coach Kurt Gouveia have all stayed in contact with Foster throughout the process.
“Coach Mason is a real cool coach,” Foster said. “He’s a good guy, I like him. His system, I think he runs an awesome defense. The games I’ve watched, the defense played solid games. Even though the offense was struggling, the defense has been tough and I like the way they run it.
“A lot of them reach out to talk to me so that’s real good. They say they really like the way I play and the intensity I play with.”
Since being offered by Hawaii, Washington State and Utah State have both stepped in with scholarship offers. Air Force, Army West Point, and Fresno State have all recently shown interest as well. The Falcons hope to make an impression on him this Saturday when they play Hawaii at Aloha Stadium.
“I think those are big-time schools right there,” Foster said of WSU and USU. “Utah State, from what I heard, graduated 100 percent of their class so that’s really good academically. It’s a great place to live, Utah - it’s beautiful. And Washington State, that’s Pac-12, that’s big-time. I’m thankful to have these opportunities."
All the schools see Foster as a linebacker at the next level, but coaches are split on whether they want him at inside or outside. Foster is in no hurry to make a decision between his options. He is hoping to see more schools come into the picture as his film collects for his senior season. Defensive schemes and potential playing time could play the biggest factors in his decision.
“My options are open right now and as time goes on I think more people will try to jump on me,” Foster said. “I like blitzes, I would like to play for a defense that has a lot of blitzes, scheme wise. But just where I’ll be the best to help is probably where I’ll go.”