When the 2016 Hawaii National Signing Day list was released earlier this year, UH went no further east than Nevada, but Head Coach Nick Rolovich has aspirations of recruiting as far as the East Coast - and a 2017 recruit has given validity to this venture.
Sanford (Florida) Seminole HS athlete Demarco Artis is a three-star recruit out of Florida. He has a list of offers that include Ole Miss, North Carolina and Michigan State and he was once committed to Kentucky. For Hawaii to try to recruit him from over 4,500 miles away seems like a fool’s errand, but Rolovich has struck a chord with him.
“It’s a blessing to even have them as an option,” Artis said. “They are very high up right now. I’m still kind of feeling everything out, but I did get to talk to one of the recruits they offered, Charles (Watson). We were talking and told him the same thing I told the coaches, that it would be nice if we could all go up there and build something special.”
For Artis, it was first Hawaii’s location that got him interested in the school, then the relationship he built with Rolovich that made it an option of consideration.
“The most intriguing thing about them is probably the location,” Artis said. “It’s a nice place to be, a nice place to visit. I could especially see myself being there for four years or possibly more. It’s real nice out there. They haven't been on the upside for a long time, so I feel like I could go out there and make an impact in my first or second year on the team.
“Rolovich is a cool guy. I can definitely tell he likes to have fun. Everytime we talk, he’s always joking around. I get the vibe from him that he knows when to be serious and he knows when to play around. He’s a real cool guy. It’s going to be fun if I do end up playing for him, I feel like it would be fun.”
Artis holds over 30 offers and plans to cut his list of options by half this summer. Hawaii, he said, will make the cut and is among his eight or so favorites at the moment. The list includes Mississippi, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Temple, UCF, Iowa State, Hawaii and North Carolina, though he has more recently added offers from Michigan State, Cincinnati and Rutgers to consider.
“It would be a tough move and I would be far away from my family, but at the end of the day they do understand I’m going to do what’s best for me,” Artis said of Hawaii. “This whole recruiting thing is a once-in-a-lifetime deal. They understand that Hawaii might be an option and if I do go there they’ll support me all the way… The recruiting process is a blessing. As of how I got to where I am now, it’s just hard work and dedication.”
On the field, Artis weighs in at 6-foot-3 and 215 lbs. Artis has elite talent, though his size makes him a bit of a tweener or he might have even more offers than he has already.
“I project as a hybrid d-end outside linebacker,” Artis said. “A 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 defensive end. They say hybrid because they feel I’m a little short to play D-end because they want the big 6-foot-6 guy, but I feel I can play anywhere. My attitude, the way I carry myself makes me stand out. When I do something you’ll know it’s me.”
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