Commentary

Nike combine heads to the Islands

Updated: January 29, 2010, 10:58 AM ET
By Greg Biggins | ESPN RISE

The first NIKE Combine of the year will kick off this weekend in a brand new location. For the first time in 14 years of putting on the NIKE camps and combines, the ESPN RISE staff will head to beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii, and Aloha Stadium for the start of this year's tour.

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.

Hawaii has been an under-appreciated location for football as the state annually puts out between 25-30 Division I prospects every year. In just the past few years, Hawaii has sent players to prominent programs such as USC, Notre Dame, UCLA, Cal, Arizona, Brigham Young University, Washington and Colorado.

Here's a look at a handful of players who are already on the map locally but could become national names with a strong performance Saturday.

One of the more intriguing players expected to work out is freshman defensive tackle Reeve Kohler of St. Louis (Honolulu, Hawaii). The younger brother of Arizona tackle Solomon Kohler, Reeve is 6-foot-2, 285 pounds and had a scholarship offer from Hawaii when he was still in the 8th grade.

St. Louis is always a strong program and another player to watch is receiver Duke Bukowski. Bukowski (6-0, 180) who had a solid showing at the NorCal NIKE Camp last summer and was named to the all-state team by both the Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin. He caught 42 passes for 720 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

Kahuku (Hawaii) is another strong program and Ben Mamea has a chance to be one of the top linebackers in the West region next year. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound athlete has been a two-way starter for the Red Raiders since his sophomore season but projects on the defensive side of the ball. BYU, Colorado, UCLA and Utah are already showing interest.

Also representing Kahuku will be two of the top linemen in the state: Jamal Napeahi (6-1, 265) and Steven Siilata (6-0, 265). Both earned all-state honors in the fall. Napeahi projects as a center or guard. At last summer's All-Poly Camp in Hawaii he was singled out as the top lineman in attendance. Siilata also projects on the interior offensive line in college. Both players are very strong and play with a mean streak.

NIKE Camp Links

Over the next few months, ESPN RISE will have complete coverage of every NIKE Camp and Combine along with coverage of the ELITE 11. Be sure to check back daily for news and notes from every stop and find out who the stars of 2011 will be.

Kamehameha (Honolulu, Hawaii) knocked off Kahuku for the state title last year and defensive back Walter Santiago was a big reason why. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound defensive back locked down his side of the field and earned second-team all-state honors. Ironically, Kahuku's offensive coordinator is Walter Santiago Sr., father of the talented defensive back.

Another player to look out for is Baldwin (Wailuku, Hawaii) wide receiver Ro Wilson.

Wilson (6-2, 170) is easily among the top athletes on the islands and earned league player of the year and all-state honors after catching 29 passes for 547 yards and nine touchdowns. Wilson is also one of the area's top track stars and high jumped 6 feet, 4 inches as a sophomore a year ago.

For complete results and coverage of the NIKE Combine in Honolulu, be sure to check ESPNRISE.com all week.