Ala finds Washington to his liking

The night that Brandon Ala, the 6-3, 230-pound defensive end from Honolulu (Hawaii) Kamehameha verbally committed to the Washington Huskies over the Oregon Ducks is one that Husky recruiting fans will remember for a long time. With decommitments from Albert Toeaina and Chris Solomona becoming public knowledge, the Washington recruiting effort looked to be heading sideways at best.

"Washington had been in the lead the whole time," Ala told the night he made his decision. In an ironic twist, Brandon committed to Washington linebackers coach Tom Williams almost immediately after an in-home visit from Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti.

When asked about Ala, Kamehameha Head Coach Kanani Souza didn't spare superlatives. "Brandon had a great year this year," he said. "His potential is tremendous. And he's also a great person. He's a very explosive athlete. He can really run, and as his body matures he'll be a force to reckon with."

And specifically about his abilities? "Well, as a defensive end, the position plays to his strengths," said Souza. "It's right up his alley. I coached his brother Houston, who played on the d-line as a freshman at UH (Hawaii) this year and they both obviously have the same genetic makeup, although Brandon is a little taller. Both are very aggressive, hard-nosed players."

While quick to laud Brandon's older brother, Souza had special praise for the younger Ala. "In the five years I've coached here, he's right up there with the best players here. Players like Steven Grace and Makoa Freitas. They both played for Arizona. It's hard to compare players like that because they play different positions, but Brandon is a great player, right up there."

Coach Souza points out one of the main reasons why he feels his charge will succeed in D1 football. "He's not much of a talker out there," Kanani said. "He has a great ethic and really puts out a consistent effort every time."

When Brandon is asked about D1 football, the talk turns again to the school he will be attending in the fall. "Probably the main reason why I want to go there is the environment and the atmosphere there," Ala said. "The coaches have been telling me that playing time is out there for the taking if I want it bad enough and work hard for it."

It doesn't hurt that he'll be seeing some familar faces on the field and around campus. "I'm also very comfortable with the guys there, like Joe Lobendahn and Willie Kava," he said. "With Donny Mateaki going there too, that's going to be very nice."

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