Hawaii is the only school in the nation that naturally prioritizes recruits from all three of American Samoa, Hawaii and the continental United States. On National Signing Day, UH landed a recruit who has made stops at all three locations.
In the last three years, linebacker recruit Jeremiah Pritchard has gone from American Samoa, to a stop at Farrington High School in Honolulu to playing his senior season at Silverado High School in Nevada.
“It was a crazy high school career,” Pritchard said. “From a freshman, being in American Samoa, then moving to Hawaii. It was crazy, a different type of football out there. And then moving out here to Nevada, it was three different types of football. But it was a great experience. I’m blessed that I had all three experiences and it helped me out as a football player and as an individual.”
Rolovich made it clear in his first class that he would put an emphasis on all three locations in recruiting - and even Australia too. Pritchard is one of the few who will experience all three styles of football first-hand.
“American Samoa football was more aggressive, more power football,” Pritchard said. “Then coming to Hawaii, it was a little more speed, a little more technique. And out here on the mainland in Nevada, there is a lot of speed. There is crazy speed out here. Bringing my aggressiveness from American Samoa to Hawaii, just having to balance out working on my speed so I can be on Hawaii’s level helped. Then transitioning from Hawaii to Nevada, I have the same aggressiveness but I’ve been working on my speed.”
Despite the significant moves, Pritchard still caught the attention of college coaches. Along with Hawaii, he landed offers from Colorado, San Diego State, UNLV and Montana State. He also earned a three-star rating from Scout.
“I was in American Samoa and there was no exposure - barely any scouts or recruiters come out there,” Pritchard said. “I came out to Hawaii and I got some more exposure through camps there and on the mainland. But they said that colleges go to the island for linemen and big dudes.”
His final decision went down to the wire with official visits scheduled to Hawaii and SDSU.
“It was a hard decision,” Pritchard said. “It came down to the last week of recruiting
“I went on my visit (to Hawaii). I was going into it thinking I wasn’t going to commit, because I had another visit scheduled to San Diego State the next weekend. But throughout the visit, I got to know the coaches, the coaching staff, I got to meet all the players. I was introduced to the program, how they do things. I committed to UH. It’s the place for me.”
Hawaii earned his commitment on Jan. 24 and Pritchard was ready to cancel his final visit to SDSU, but the Aztecs made a second-effort with a scholarship offer.
“My mind was set on Hawaii already, but San Diego State came up with an offer so I took a visit,” Pritchard said. “I liked it, it was a good experience. But when it came down to my decision, I decided on what place I’ll be able to reach my highest potential at and I felt that Hawaii is where I’m most comfortable at to pursue my football career so I chose Hawaii.”
Pritchard’s visit to Hawaii included a meeting with defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa and linebackers coach Sean Duggan - watching film and going over the playbook. That, along with the relationship with the coaching staff marked the highlights of the trip for Pritchard.
“Coach Duggan was telling me I could be a perfect fit for their outside linebacker,” Pritchard said. “That made me feel I would have a good shot at UH.
“Personally, I really loved the connection with the players and the coaches. This new coaching staff is a great coaching staff. The way they connect with the players - they aren’t too strict on football. They love football, but they love the players too. I think the bond between coach and player, I like the bond. Meeting the other players, they are great people. I think with this coaching staff and the 2016 recruits, we can make a change in the program.”
On the field, Hawaii plans to place Pritchard as a SAM linebacker.
“For the defense, they were saying I’m a good blitzer,” Pritchard said. “They see me as backer, the one that comes of the edge hard - that can come off the blitz but can also play man-to-man against faster guys.”
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