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MailTribune.com
  • Hawaii a recruiting hotbed for Beavers

  • CORVALLIS — Hawaii has been a hotbed of football talent for Oregon State for years.
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  • CORVALLIS — Hawaii has been a hotbed of football talent for Oregon State for years.
    The Beavers recruit the islands regularly and usually with positive results.
    Hawaii produced such former OSU stars as Inoke Breckterfield, Esera Tuaolo, Jeremy Perry and Suaesi Tuimaunei.
    The Beavers have five players from Hawaii on the current roster.
    Two of those players get on the field regularly. Mana Rosa starts at defensive tackle and Devon Kell gets plenty of playing time at defensive end.
    "We've been actively recruiting over there for a long time," defensive coordinator Mark Banker said.
    The current coaching staff has quite a few ties to Hawaii.
    Banker coached at University of Hawaii, as did receivers coach Brent Brennan, offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh and defensive line coach Joe Seumalo.
    Seumalo and graduate assistant Tavita Thompson are both from Honolulu.
    So it stands to reason that a berth in the Hawaii Bowl could serve as a handy recruiting tool for the Beavers.
    "I love it," coach Mike Riley said of the notion. "I was thinking about that when the options were coming up and there was one other place that I thought was going to be good for recruiting and, of course, this place.
    "This place has got a great history for us, too. We've had coaches coach over there and lots of kids from there and lots of kids now that we have here and we are recruiting over there."
    Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said the situation is somewhat similar to last season's trip to the Alamo Bowl.
    The Beavers have been making some headway in Texas in recent years and going to San Antonio gave them a boost of publicity.
    "We've had that for sure with guys who have been able to watch practices or go to the game and see it live and just have a chance to maybe look into the program a little bit closer just because they got familiar with a team that played right there in their backyard," he said. "So I think all that stuff is helpful for any bowl that you're in."
    The Beavers have commitments from Kalani Vakameilalo, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive tackle from Kapolei, and Fitou Fisiiahi, a 6-2, 240-pound linebacker from Honolulu. Hercules Mata'afa, a defensive end from Lahaina, is also interested in OSU.
    There are several others who the Beavers are actively recruiting.
    The bowl game could wind up as the tipping point for players, even if they are a few years away from graduating high school.
    They have an opportunity to see the Beavers live and those living in the area might notice OSU fans, personnel or the players out and about in the days leading up to the bowl.
    "Because of the distance they don't (usually) get to see you up close and personal, be right there at a game or around you at practice or something like that," Banker said.
    "It also gives families of players just the notion that, 'Hey, this Oregon State team plays in Hawaii.' This will be backed up by the fact that we will be over there on the second week of (next) season. So it can only help the further recruitment in the state of Hawaii for us."
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