2012 Nike Football SPARQ Combine tour kicks off Saturday in Aloha State
HONOLULU -- National signing day for the Class of 2012 isn't until Wednesday, Feb. 1, but ESPNHS will start to look towards the Class of '13 and beyond on Saturday, as the 2012 Nike Football SPARQ Combine tour gets underway with the first of 14 events in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The "NFSCs" are free testing events for high school footballers nationwide. In 2011, the events drew over 15,000 attendees, and figure to be popular again this offseason, as top performers have a chance for increased attention on the recruiting trail. Participants are also vying for a potential spot at the second annual The Opening presented by Nike Football, an exclusive training and competition event for 150 of the nation's top prospects in July.
Could Saturday's event in the Aloha State potentially produce the first athlete to lock up a spot for The Opening in 2012? There certainly should be some standout candidates, and Punahou (Honolulu) linebacker Isaac Savaiinaea ranks near the top of that list. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Savaiinaea wreaked havoc this past fall from his linebacker spot, helping the Buff n' Blue to an 11-3 mark and earning first team all-state honors from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Punahou School has been a recruiting hotbed for college recruiters over the past few years, producing Notre Dame All-American linebacker Manti Te'o and most recently the two Hawaiians who were selected for The Opening last summer, Oregon recruit DeForest Buckner and Stanford-bound Luke Kaumatule. Savaiinaea already reports offers from Hawaii, Stanford, Colorado and Arizona. Savaiinaea posted a solid 90.27 SPARQ Rating at the Hawaii Nike Combine a year ago and could push 100 on Saturday.
ESPNU 150 Watchlist prospect Reeve Koehler will also be in attendance on Saturday, as the St. Louis (Honolulu) offensive lineman participates in the combine on his school's home turf. Koehler is no stranger on the recruiting radar, as he pulled in his first scholarship offer from Hawaii as a freshman and has previously attended the Hawaii Nike Combine twice already, posting 78.87 and 80.76 SPARQ Ratings. Utah has also offered the 6-foot-4, 295-pounder, who earned third team all-state honors this past fall.
One other big name to watch out for Saturday is Waianae (Hawaii) defensive tackle Kennedy Tulimaseali'i. Also an ESPNU 150 Watchlist member, the 6-foot-2, 300-pound Tulimaseali'i is a two-time all-state selection and wowed at this same event in 2011 when he clocked a 5.19 40 yard dash and 4.56 shuttle at 298 pounds, on his way to an 87.87 SPARQ Rating.
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