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Wednesday, February 3, 2010
RISE 7: Hawaii

By Greg Biggins

In a combine that numbered close to 350 total players, it wasn't easy picking the top seven overall prospects. Based on both combine performance and college potential, here's our look at the RISE 7.

NIKE Camp Links

Over the next week, ESPN RISE will have several items pertaining to the NIKE Hawaii Combine. For complete coverage of the event be sure to check ESPN RISE daily.

*Players are listed in alphabetical order

There was a handful of talented underclassmen on hand and Punahou (Honolulu, Hawaii) defensive end DeForest Buckner definitely looks the part. Just a sophomore, Buckner wowed onlookers with his 6-6.5, 220 pound frame and tested very well running a 4.22-shuttle time and jumped almost 29 inches in the vertical. He has long arms, a quick first step and as he fills out, could turn in to a very intriguing prospect.

Duke Bukowski (Honolulu, Hawaii./St. Louis) was one of the players we spotlighted prior to the combine and he definitely delivered the goods. The receiver had the top SPARQ Rating of the day with a 96.69 score and was easily the top pass catcher of the event during the one on ones. Bukoski is a natural pass catcher with all the physical tools to be recruited at the Div I level.

There's a lot of hype to live up to when you receive your first scholarship offer before you've even played a second of H.S ball. Defensive tackle Reeve Kohler (Honolulu, Hawaii./St. Louis) not only lived up to the hype but might have exceeded it. At a well built 6-3, 274 pounds, Kohler has a prototype frame that will project well as an offensive guard or defensive tackle. He took reps on both sides of the line during the one on ones and although still raw technique wise, his upside is off the charts. Just a freshman, Kohler has an early offer from Hawaii and will be a national recruit in two years.

Elijah Lagafuaina (Wahiawa, Hawaii./Mililani) is a great looking defensive back prospect and someone that should draw a lot of heavy Div I interest. At 5-11.5, 190 pounds, the hard hitting safety clocked a 4.62-40, 4.21 shuttle and jumped 32" in the vertical. He had a solid year on the field this past season and is also one of the top returning track athletes in the area.

Coming in to the combine, we heard Walter Santiago (Honolulu, Hawaii./ Kamehameha) was one of the top corner prospects on the Islands and he looked the part on Saturday. His 4.09 shuttle time was good enough for 4th best in the combine and when you play corner, a position all about quickness of change of direction, many feel the shuttle is a better indicator of overall athleticism than the 40. The 5-10, 170 pound athlete also showed good strength with a 36' throw in the power ball and jumped 30 inches in the vertical.

In our preview article for the combine, we mentioned a pair of offensive lineman from tradition rich Kahuku (Honolulu, Hawaii). Chris Thee was not one of them and showed what a mistake that was as he was the best lineman, on either side of the ball, during the one on ones, by a wide margin. At just a shade under 6-0 and 258 pounds, Thee will have to play guard or center in college but he definitely has Div I ability. His overall technique, strength and nastiness are as good as you'll see at this level.

Watching linebacker K.T Tuumalo (Honolulu, Hawaii./Punahou) stand under the goal post and effortlessly jump up and grab the horizontal bar (10 ft off the ground) immediately caught our attention. His 4.22 shuttle at a rock solid 6-1.5, 192 pounds was equally as impressive and several area coaches made a point to say Tuumalo killed their team last season. The three-sport athlete (also does hoops and track) just looks the part of a Div I weak side linebacker and has a very nice upside to him.