Nakihei is ready to show his versatility

A super-quick and very talented runner who can hurt defenses in a number of ways is Saddleback RB Andrew Nakihei (5-9, 185). After an outstanding freshman campaign in 2006, Nakihei is ready to have a breakout season for the Gauchos this fall and hopes to earn himself some division one offers for his efforts.

"I really want to play division one," Nakihei admitted to JCFootball.com recently. "I feel like I could play for anyone and I'd really like to earn some offers so I can check out some different schools to see what offense and school would fit me best."

Nakihei has blazing speed – he ran a 4.4 forty time at the beginning of fall camp – and he's very strong for a player his dimensions – he put up 225 pounds on the bench 20 times this summer. With those talents it seems as though he would have been playing football for years and he did while he was a prep at Maui High School in Hawaii, but he was a highly respected baseball talent as well and he parlayed that into a spot on the Riverside College baseball team with the hopes of getting drafted eventually.

"I loved football, but a lot of people told me baseball is what I was meant to play," Nakihei said. "I didn't really think about playing anything after high school, but then I got the opportunity at Riverside and so I took it.

"Then one day, when I needed to earn some money, the football coaches said that (the baseball players) could hold the first down markers for the football games and practices and I needed to get some cash so I did it and then I realized how much I missed playing football and I wanted to play again.

"A friend of mine was playing up here at Saddleback so he told me I should come out and try out so I did and I'm so glad I did because I love to play football."

Nakihei, playing several roles on the Gaucho offense, rushed the ball 57 times for 550 yards and seven touchdowns in a relief role behind Saddleback's outstanding running back Patrick Gates who is now with Colorado while also catching 15 passes for 130 yards as well.

This year Nakihei said he expects to be used in a myriad of ways as he'll be sharing time with another outstanding running back in Cheyne Verhagen.

"I'll be all over the place I think," Nakihei said with a laugh. "They'll put me in the slot, move me out wide, send me in motion and run both me and Cheyne out of the backfield together to.

"We are pretty wide open and we run the spread and I didn't really realize how much I loved running out of the spread until I did it. I came from an "I-formation" system in high school and that's all I had ever run out of and I liked it because you start so far back you can see where the holes are going to be and then when you get there you can just blast through it, but in the spread you have so much open space, it makes it so much easier to find holes and just go."

On the recruiting front, Nakihei is hearing from two schools mainly, but several more have made contact with his coaches about getting some tape after the first few games of the season.

"Arizona State and Utah are the big ones that are looking at me right now," Nakihei noted. "They both were in a lot of contact with me during the summer and they came and saw me work out in the spring so they are after me pretty hard.

"The other schools that have been recruiting me are Texas Tech, Hawaii, UNLV and San Diego State, but none of them have offered yet."

Nakihei is hoping to graduate in December, but said he may need to take one or two classes in winter quarter in order to graduate so he expects to finish up in May. Wherever he ends up he'll have three years to play two.

Saddleback begins their season this weekend by hosting Mt. San Jacinto.

Andrew Nakihei Scout Profile


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