Defensive tackle Jonathan Lolohea has been all over the country in the last couple years.
After playing high school prep football in Hawaii, the 6-foot-3, 315-pound talent found himself at two different JUCO destinations in California. For now, he’s enrolled at Copiah-Lincoln in Mississippi, but earlier this month Lolohea decided on his final destination — the Kansas Jayhawks.
“I went to California it’s really busy and then you get to Mississippi and there’s nothing to do. I mean that in a most respectful way, as it helps me focus on football and school,” he said.
Strangely enough, it’s his visit to Kansas that most reminded him of home.
“When I went on my visit, it was like being back home in Hawaii,” Lolohea said. “People there were very nice, they said ‘hi’ as I passed them. That meant a lot in feeling comfortable there.”
He said it was a variety of circumstances that led to the commitment.
“It wasn’t really one thing, it was a bunch of thing. It was the genuineness from the coaching staff — from head coach David Beaty all the way down to the position coaches,” Lolohea said. “I saw the players, and they love their coaches. That’s what I was looking for.
“I had a bunch of schools after me. The environment at Kansas was just different. All the guys there would be there if they could choose all over. That program is about to change and go places. Just look at how the current recruiting class is coming together. Why not? It’s a great place to be. I love it there.”
He will play this season at Copiah-Lincoln and then enroll at KU in January.
“They expect me to start immediately when I get there. That’s the plan. They plan to play me inside, or potentially at end,” Lolohea said. “Coach (Kenny) Perry wants me to be a vocal leader. They like my maturity on the defense.”
“Everything, but focusing on slowing the game down,” he said about what he wants to work on during his sophomore JUCO season. “Using my eyes to see what’s in front of me, instead of just reacting physically. I want to work on the mental aspects of the game. Physically, I want to work on my conditioning and work on growing my motor. I’m always working on improving as much as I can.”
Though he expects to play right away at Kansas, he will have three years left to play two when he arrives.
“I like to coach when I’m back home in Hawaii, back at the high school,” Lolohea said. “I like sharing what I know.”