Ikehara eyes move to the mainland

Washington has had a lot of success with linemen from the Hawaiian Islands. Kamehameha OL Mykenna Ikehara is the latest to decide to make his way from "paradise" to head to Montlake and he's looking forward to the start of his college career although he admits he's a bit nervous about leaving the family nest.

"I've never lived away from home so that's a big thing, but I'm excited about what it's going to be like up there," Ikehara told Dawgman.com earlier this week. "I mean, this is sort of the start to my life on my own and I get to play football and get a good education, so it's exciting, but I'm still a little nervous about things."

Ikehara has been told by the Washington coaches to be ready to go when he arrives on campus because the position he's projected to play -- center -- will have a shortage of bodies as fall camp gets underway.

"Coach (Chris) Tormey told me to come in ready to play," Ikehara said. "With Juan Garcia going down and I heard he might miss a lot of the season, (Tormey) said they may need me early on, so that's really what has driven me and gotten me even more focused on things than I was before.

"No one is promising me playing time and I'm not going there expecting to play. I'm just going to work hard, get in there and learn the playbook and the calls and then see what happens."

Ikehara has reacted by working out as hard in the weight room as he ever has.

"I've been doing the workout program that Trent Greener sent over and it's been a killer," Ikehara said with a laugh. "I'm exhausted all the time, but it feels good. I've been able to add muscle, lose fat and just get lean and ready to go.

"I'm 6-3, 290 right now and they said when I get there they expect me to put on some weight pretty quickly.

"I haven't maxed on my bench in six weeks, but the last time I did it I was at 420 pounds. I've been doing reps of five at 355, then five at 365 and then five at 385."

That's impressive strength for a high school senior, but Ikehara said that it isn't natural.

"Oh man, I wish it was natural," Ikehara said laughing again. "It would make things easier, but that isn't what happened with me. I've been working at this stuff for a long time and it's paid off for me."

Ikehara said he wrestled his first three years of high school, but that he decided to just focus on football and his training this past winter.

Now that he's already graduated, he said getting up to Washington is his main focus.

"We actually graduated last week, so I'm done," Ikehara said. "It's so strange not to be thinking about high school and stuff. Now I'm thinking about college and what that is going to be like.

"I've already qualified with the NCAA Clearinghouse and I'm going to enroll in the (Summer) Bridge Program up there in July.

"I'm going to fly into Portland on July 3rd and stay with my auntie for a couple days. She lives in Battleground (Wa.) and then she is going to drive me up there and we're going to check some things out before I have to enroll on the 6th.

"It's really exciting and I think we have a good class coming in. We're all excited to come in and help any way that we can. I think we're going to be good this year and I'm really looking foward to putting on that uniform and representing Washington well."

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