University of Hawaii head football coach Norm Chow announced the Warriors' 2012 recruiting class Wednesday at a press conference at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Chow and his inaugural coaching staff secured commitments from 18 high school and junior college prospects for the upcoming season.
Highlighting the class are three of the state's top prospects: linebacker Benetton Fonua from Kahuku High School, running back Steven Lakalaka from Punahou School, and offensive lineman Kiha Sai from Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama.
Fonua was the state's defensive player of the year this past season while Siha was rated as the No. 3 recruit in the state and Lakalaka was picked as the fifth-best prospect.
"Historically over the years a lot of the top local players leave and we're going to have to fight that," Chow said. "We fought a pretty good fight this time around and we feel like we made some progress (with this group) but we're going to have a better jump on it (in future years)."
The Warriors beat out several big name FBS teams. Among them, defensive lineman Dejon Allen of Dominguez High School in California, who picked UH over Arizona State; offensive tackle Leo Koloamatangi of Sacred Heart Prep in California, who turned down Purdue; defensive back Ronald Fields of the College of San Mateo, who was recruited heavily by Washington; and Lakalaka, who picked the Warriors over UCLA.
Among the signees, three are tight ends, a position UH will now utilize with the implementation of Chow's pro-style offense.
Clark Evans, of Cerritos College, was a highly decorated quarterback from Los Alamitos High School who moved to tight end at Cerritos. Harold Moleni, who initially signed with Utah State out of high school, comes to UH after serving a two-year church mission. Ethan Watanabe was an all-district player from Brennan High School in San Antonio, Texas, whose father was a standout player at Nanakuli High School on O'ahu.
Also among the class are a pair of quarterbacks ? Ikaika Woolsey of Salinas High School in California and Taylor Graham, a transfer from Ohio State, who must sit out the 2012 season. Both are already enrolled in school for the spring semester. John Ursua, a three-year starting quarterback at Cedar High School in Utah, was ranked among the top prospects in the state and will switch to receiver when he joins the Warriors in the fall.
Among the team's needs is on the offensive and defensive line. In addition to Allen, Sai and Koloamatangi, the Warriors picked up 300-pounders Gus Lavaka, a defensive lineman out of Kearns High School in Utah and Mike Milovale, a tackle from Hartnell College in California. Offensive lineman Ben Clarke of Chatfield High School in Littleton, Colo., is already enrolled in school.