A Good Start For Coach Chow

For college football fans, perhaps no other day is as filled with optimism as national letter of intent day. Last Wednesday, student athletes became eligible to sign a binding agreement with future schools. The recruitment of good players is a process several years in the making, but only on signing day does it become real. Prior to pen being put to paper, and that paper faxed, commitments are verbal and non-binding.

Yet even when a coach secures that autograph, there are no guarantees of future glories. Even the most successful coaches admit that recruiting is an inexact science. Some make the transition to the faster, more-physical college game more easily than others. Some players peak in high school. Any number might be late bloomers.

UH fans should feel good about new coach Norm Chow addressing some immediate needs.

The Warriors signed three quarterbacks and six offensive lineman, although at least two of the linemen could play on defense. Two signees were decommits from Pac 12 schools: running back Steven Lakalaka (UCLA) and offensive linemen Kila Sai (Utah) have decided to stay home.

On signing day, 18 student athletes became Warriors, but for most it will be a couple of years before you’ll be able to get a read on how good they’ll be.

* With the NFL season over, pro football fanatics can turn to such weighty subjects as the NFL draft and the future of Peyton Manning. The draft in particular should return to prominence; last year’s lockout seemed to diminish interest.

But now with such talented prospects as Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, expect the annual selection of future stars to be the topic of endless debate.

And you can put to rest the old bromide that a Senior Bowl appearance can only help you. Several draft experts have cited the most-watched week of practice followed by the game to have been an unmitigated disaster for two highly touted prospects. Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson gave the Badgers a multidimensional threat last season, but in Mobile he struggled mightily with his footwork and accuracy in the pocket. And Texas A&M receiver Jeff Fuller was as big and strong as advertised, but was completely unable to separate and dropped a ton of passes. Both players may have moved to the late fringes of the draft.

* College baseball is back, and we’re reminded that Les Murakami Stadium is a wonderful place to watch America’s pastime. Reasonable prices, not a bad seat in the house and high-level college baseball beginning later this month.

* Don’t forget the Grand Slam Celebration, the annual baseball fundraiser Monday, Feb. 13, at Stan Sheriff Center. A number of Honolulu’s best restaurants, including Roy’s, Morton’s, Big City Diner, Hukilau, Pagoda, Gordon Biersch and Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar will provide the food, and fine wines and cold beers. It will have silent and live auctions, introductions of all this year’s players and the chance to hear head coach Mike Trapasso speak of the season.

For ticket information, call the baseball office at 956 6247.