Trojans Sign Letters Of Intent

Trojan football standout Dayton Furuta always felt at home at Aloha Stadium, and he ensured that it would be his football “home away from home” last week by signing his national letter of intent to play for University of Hawaii.

“I used to go to UH games with my grandfather,” Furuta said, “and I always looked up to the players. I’d like the younger kids to look up to me one day. It will be great to be able to represent my home state.”

Furuta had a stellar career at Mililani as a two-way player at running back and linebacker. This past fall, he helped lead the team to an 11-2 season, including the OIA Red title. Mililani also was the Division I state runner-up, losing a close game to Punahou in late November, and Furuta was a First Team All-OIA Red West pick in 2012 and ’13. He rushed 45 times for 260 yards and six TDs and caught four passes for 51 yards and two scores this season, in addition to helping anchor the defense.

The four-sport athlete also competed in wrestling, judo and basketball, but football was his main focus.

“A scholarship always has been a goal since I started playing football with the Waipio Panthers, but probably my freshman year was when I started getting more serious.”

Furuta visited DI schools Oregon and Oregon State, and Division IAA schools Portland State and Weber State, had scholarship offers from a handful of DII schools and much interest from DI San Diego State, which wanted him as a preferred walk-on. West Point also recruited him.

UH head coach Norm Chow did the bulk of the work on Furuta’s case. “Overall, it is a great relief to know that my education will be free,” said Furuta, who also played in December’s H.U.B. Goodwill Senior Bowl. “All the hard work I put in is finally paying off.”

Furuta is unsure if he’ll play offense or defense in college. “I’m listed as both right now. I think it will be determined once I get out to practice and they can evaluate me.”

He credits his family and high school coach for helping him get to this point. “My family has always been there for me, and I also want to thank Coach (Rod) York – he never gave up on getting me exposure and talking to coaches.”

Trojan teammate Keli’i Padello signed a letter of intent for Southern Oregon University. Packing 200 solid pounds into his 6-foot frame, he was named OIA Red West Defensive Player of the Year in December.