Scouting the WAC: Hawaii

June Jones has this program on the fast track and unbelievably, even with nine wins last season, Hawaii did not get a post-season bid (thanks in part to no bowl game being played on the islands for the first time in a while). Both should change in '02 and though the program had a first round choice last April in Ashley Lelie, they could ultimately have more players drafted next year.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

While the man on everyone's lips is guard Vince Manuwai, he is not the only prospect on the offensive front. Recently given high grades on Blesto's pre-season rankings, Manuwai is an athletically gifted lineman that displays quickness, explosion and terrific blocking range. Effective at the line, on the second level or when moving in space, his pass protection skills grade out highly as he possesses terrific footwork and hand-quickness, all along playing with a good head on his shoulders. Lacking the top size/strength numbers, Manuwai is not dominant blocking for the run or one that moves opponents off the line but his versatility and ability to be used in several schemes could mean a first day calling. The forgotten man of this group could be left tackle Lui Fuata, another athletic lineman better off at guard. Like his teammate, Fuata is quick and technically sound, possibly showing better strength at the point than Manuwai, though he is not nearly as effective playing in space or blocking on the move. To our minds Fuata is a legitimate prospect that deserves middle round consideration. Finally, receiver Justin Colbert needs to step out of Ashley Lelie's shadows and prove he can become the "go-to-guy". If he does, late round consideration will be given.

Defensively, Hawaii has a pair of linebackers and a single lineman to watch. End Laanui Correa is a fluid front-four defender that makes plays rushing the passer or stopping the run. Deceptively strong, Correa defeats blocks on his way to the action and is rarely off his feet. Playing with leverage, balance and solid hand technique, he has terrific range and stamina throughout the contest. Correa would not be considered an explosive lineman, nor is he very fast but his present strength, coupled with future growth potential, makes us believe he could be a solid left end at the next level and is worth a late round choice. Chris Brown is a solid run-stuffing middle linebacker but only effective in a straight line up the field and displays almost no skills defending the pass. Outside linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa has strong safety size and relentlessly throws his body around the action, sacrificing it to make the play. He has the speed to be considered for the secondary and the mentality to be a demon on special teams.



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