Hawaiian Defensive POY Picks Idaho
PLAYER PROFILE: Robert Siavii, 6-2, 200, LB
When Scout asked decorated outside linebacker Robert Siavii to describe how the recruiting process was going, Siavii's answer captured his enthusiasm about his approach to the next step of his life. "It's going great!" Siavii told Scout. "Everything that I ever wanted, I'm getting right now from the coaches and the staff of Idaho. I'm happy with my choice. I'm pretty proud of what I'm getting, and I'm really grateful."
"My choice is to take a four-year full-ride to Idaho and become a Vandal," he continued. "I'm signing on February 6th, Wednesday, at 7:00 in the morning Hawaii time."
Outstanding news for Idaho fans from a player as decorated as Saivii. His name, pronounced SEE-UH-VEE, is one Vandal fans should begin taking note of for future reference - and probably sooner rather than later. The name Robert Siavii may be new to the mainland, but is extremely well-known in Hawaii.
HIS HONORS AS A SENIOR are exceptional. He was named to The Honolulu Advertiser's All-State Team as the Defensive Player of the Year. He was just TWO VOTES short of being named the Honolulu Star Bulletin's Defensive Player of the Year. His team, the Leilehua Mules, won the State Championship over perrenial powerhouse Saint Louis (the top ranked team in the state going into the game, riding an 11-0 record), accomplishing this feat dispite losing their top two quarterbacks midway through the year. No worries. They focused their attention on playing stellar defense, with what was considered the best linebacking unit in Hawaii (Siavii was joined by Art Laurel and Josh Cruz). They shined in their post-season run to the Championship, allowing just 142 yards per game. Siavii, a team captain, picked off a pass and returned it for a TD, recorded a safety on a sack, and scored a TD when he lined up at receiver.
He led the Mules to their first ever State Championship, and their first League title in 23 years.
A fitting end to a solid high school career, and college recruiters took notice.
"UH [Hawaii] offered me a full ride," Siavii said. "But I plan to get off the island because I've been here for 17 years. I just made a decision to visit somewhere else and become a Vandal."
"I cancelled the trip [to UH] because I just knew it right then [in Moscow] that I wanted to go to Idaho, and I didn't want to stay on the island."
Asked to describe his trip to the University of Idaho campus, the answer was followed a common theme this recruiting season. "It was really fun, they treated me like family. I'm really happy with the trip, and I can't wait to go back and see all of them."
Siavii was hosted on his trip by friend Joseph "JoJo" Dickson. "He's my best friend at Idaho," Siavii said. "I'm really happy he hosted me, because I got to spend time with people like me. I'm Polynesian, he's Polynesian, and all his friends are Polynesian. I got to spend time with all the Poly's out there, and it was fun."
"The thing I enjoyed the most was time with the coaches and players, because they just treated all three of us recruits – me, Kama Bailey, and Isaiah Lavea – they all treated us like family. We were no different than any other person. They didn't treat us like athletes - they didn't just praise us - they were just being themselves. They didn't do anything fancy for us, they were just family.
"I look at them as my Ohana (Hawaiian for family) and my Aiga (Samoan word for family)."
THE CURRENT TREND IS IMMEDIATE playing time, and with Siavii it likely will be no different. "Coaches talked it over with me, and I told them I wouldn't mind going as a freshman, because right then and there you get more reps. You don't want to waste all your life lifting weights and just training, and then go on. I'm going as a true freshman. Coach didn't tell me that I'm going to start, but I don't take that into consideration because when people tell you that, that stops their motivation for working harder. So I'm just going to ignore that fact and keep working harder every day."
Siavii started as a safety for the Mules as a junior, then moved up to linebacker to get the ball hawking senior closer to the line of scrimmage. Lining up as a strongside (outside) linebacker this season, Siavii was a force. Will he play linebacker at Idaho? "I expect to play strong," Siavii told Scout, "Just like my head coach and my position coach – Al Genatone – told me that he wants me at strongside, or weakside. When I'm at strong he plans to blitz me a lot, and when I'm at weak he plans to drop me back in pass coverage. In both positions he wants me to play man. He told me that I'm going to be weakside or strongside. It doesn't really matter to me, whatever helps the team."
WITH EVERYTHING HE HAS ACCOMPLISHED on the field, it's his leadership and maturity off the field that is equally impressive. The eldest of seven siblings, Siavii knows the meaning of responsibility.
From an article in the Star Times: "He's got it all -- size, speed, athleticism. He's a great football player," Head Coach Nolan Tokuda said. "But his best attribute is his character. He performs community service. He's dedicated to his academics. He is a gentle giant; he always greets his teachers with a hug, and thanks them for their help, and he puts the team before himself. He exemplifies what we want a Leilehua football player to be."
He's elevated his GPA since his sophomore year, raising it from a 2.4 then to a mid-3.0 today. "I plan on majoring in journalism," Siavii told Scout, "because I love to write. Whenever there are problems in my life I just write it down on paper. I gave it [a journal] to one of my teachers, and he's the one that pushed me to be a journalist. I love writing, and he told me that's the best major for the type of writing that I like to do."
Asked if he had anything else he would like to add, Siavii didn't hesitate. "The one shout-out I'd like to make is to the Father above, because without Him none of this would be happening."
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