football

Ricks OT a five-star standout

Introducing Peni Holakeituai, a 6-foot-6, 310-pound blocking machine that is one of the better ones in the junior college ranks for the Class of 2002.
Holakeituai, according to coach Ron Haun, is the top prospect on this year’s Ricks Junior College team. That’s no small feat. Ricks is a junior college juggernaut.
They have more than 10 Division I prospects on this year’s team alone, they are 8-0 this season and ranked the No. 1 team in the nation and they also have six former players on current NFL rosters.
San Francisco 49er starting tight end Greg Clark and Baltimore Ravens starting offensive guard Edwin Mulitaloa are two former Ricks players who are enjoying bright careers in the NFL.
Haun, who has been the coach at Ricks for the last 20 years, says “Penny” has what it takes to be a special player.
“He’s just got the gift,” Haun explained. “He’s powerful, he’s quick and he uses his hands well. He can be as good as any we’ve had here. I think he’ll play very soon wherever he goes next year.”
Holakeituai is ranked as a five-star offensive tackle prospect by Rivals100.com.
He is originally from Waipahu, Hawaii, which is just outside of Pearl Harbor. Holakeituai is 23 years old. He graduated from high school in 1996 and spent two years on a Mormon mission before rejoining the Ricks team.
Three colleges top his list. Auburn, USC and South Carolina are the front-runners.
“USC would be my favorite right now,” Holakeituai said. “They’re closer to home, but the big thing is that I grew up liking them. They were kind of my school.”
But that doesn’t mean South Carolina and Auburn should just throw in the towel to the Trojans. Nor would they be willing to because Holakeituai is still weighing his options and he’s one of the best, if not the best, junior college offensive linemen in the country.
“I’ve always thought it would interesting to go play ball down South,” he said. “There’s not a lot of Hawaiians who do that, and I could kind of be a first in that way. I’ve talked to coach Nall at Auburn and to South Carolina. I’m still pretty open about it all.”
Holakeituai says he hopes to begin taking official visits following Ricks’ final home game, which is set for Oct. 27.
He is a winter-term graduate and will sign a letter of intent in January. Holakeituai will have two years to play two seasons in Division I.
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