It's sometimes easy to forget about talented players in Hawaii, but college coaches in search of the next big thing from the Islands have been flocking to the state this year to check out prime-time recruits such as linebacker V.J. Fehoko, offensive tackle Micah Hatchie, defensive tackle Graham Rowley and fullback Dustin Elisara.
But coaches are starting to whisper that four-star defensive end Kona Schwenke, of Kahuku High, might be the best of all.
After an impressive showing at the Nike Training Camp in Palo Alto, Calif., the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Schwenke has become one of the nation's hottest targets. He has scholarship offers from BYU, Colorado, Oregon State, San Diego State, UNLV, Utah, Hawaii and Washington.
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"The Nike Camp went good, and I got to go up against some of the top linemen in the country," Schwenke said. "It really gave me a great chance to test myself against some of the nation's best players. I know I did well and impressed a lot of people."
At this point, BYU, Hawaii, Utah, Oregon State and Washington are his top teams. Schwenke is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and would like to go on a mission after he completes high school.
"I need to find coaches that understand that," he said. "The coaches will be huge in my decision. I need to be with coaches that'll help me get to the next level after college, and also appreciate my faith and support whatever decision I make with my mission."
So far, coaches have been receptive to that idea.
"I've kept in touch with BYU and Washington the most," Schwenke said. "I'm supposed to talk to the Utah coach soon. I haven't given him a call yet. I really like those three schools. I like the coaches at BYU and I'm a Mormon, so I'd like to stay active while I'm in school.
"I've never really researched Washington, but their coaches are cool and I like how they treat their players. I hope to learn a lot about Utah, too, when I talk to them."
Playing at Hawaii also is on Schwenke's mind.
"I talk to the Hawaii coaches, but I'm fine with going away," he said. "I just need to go on my mission first."
Schwenke doesn't have a true timeline on his decision. But he knows with the pressure of being one of the West's best and his pending mission, it might be best to get it done before the season starts.
"My dad wants me to narrow the schools down to a top five," he said. "From there, that'll make it easier to make the final choice."
WVU has more QB success
West Virginia has done a tremendous job the past few years of recruiting skilled athletes at quarterback.
In this year's class, it was four-star prospect Eugene Smith. Monday, the Mountaineers added the nation's No. 1 dual-threat quarterback for the 2010 class in Memphis (Tenn.) University School four-star prospect Barry Brunetti, who committed after taking an unofficial visit.
"I went up there on that visit and it was great," Brunetti said. "The people there were wonderful people and everything about their coaching staff was great, especially Coach [Jeff] Mullen, the offensive coordinator."
Brunetti said he's excited about the chance to compete for the starting spot and believes the situation is perfect for him.
"It's a place where I can compete early and try to fight for the job right away," he said. "I was talking to my dad and saying that this is where I want to be, and we just thought, 'Why wait?' I love the people there and I love the coaches, so why wait? I feel like it was the best place for me."
James sets four trips
Corona (Calif.) High four-star running back Jordon James didn't see any reason to delay the process when he knew four schools were near the top of his list, so he already has scheduled four official visits.
He will go to Florida on Sept. 18, Notre Dame on Oct. 16, Arizona on Nov. 6 and UCLA on Nov. 20.
Washington, Miami, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford, Tennessee, Arizona State, Cal and Colorado are under consideration for the final visit.
"I like Washington, Tennessee and a few others, but I do want to take all five visits if I can," he said.
Spartans score in-state star
Keeping Michigan players at home was the first recruiting priority that coach Mark Dantonio established when he arrived at Michigan State. The results have been nothing short of amazing so far, especially after another major in-state prospect – four-star defensive end William Gholston of Detroit Southwestern – jumped on board Monday.
Spartans running back coach Dan Enos was the primary recruiter for Gholston, and it's another feather in the cap for Enos, who is one of the Big Ten's best recruiters. Enos already has three pledges in the 2010 class; he landed nine in-state players in the 2009 class.
• Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill three-star quarterback Sean Mannion has landed his first scholarship offer, from Oregon State. Mannion recently attended an Oregon State camp.
• Dylan Thompson of Boiling Springs (S.C.) High became the second quarterback commitment for South Carolina, following Connor Shaw of Flowery Branch (Ga.) High. Thompson's pledge came after a whirlwind 48 hours where Thompson participated in a Gamecocks camp, spent time talking with coach Steve Spurrier, then landed the offer he always wanted. "My parents and brother got here, and we went into Coach Spurrier's office," Thompson said. "Coach Spurrier said right then, 'I'd like to offer you a scholarship.' I committed on the spot."