To some people it might come as a shock to hear that the Pacific University football team has the second most student- athletes from Hawaii in the entire country.
But for students here on campus, it makes sense seeing as how a large number of students at Pacific do call the islands of Hawaii home.
One in five of this year’s incoming freshman at Pacific are from Hawai‘i.
Pacific’s football team boasts more players from Hawai‘i than any other collegiate football program in the country, other than the University of Hawai‘i.
Pacific has a total of 28 football players from Hawaii this year.
These 28 players come from different islands such as Hawaii, Kaua’i and even Moloka’i.
You might wonder why all these kids are making the move over to the small town of Forest Grove from Hawaii. The answer to that question has a multitude of answers.
“For me, I actually came here for the academics,” said sophomore cornerback Kaiea Iwasaki. “But football is definitely a plus, to be able to come here and compete at the D3 level.”
Like Iwasaki, many of the Hawaiian players are drawn to Pacific for its strong academic prowess.
Others come to Pacific because it has that comforting feeling they need when they miss home.
“It’s like a home away from home,” says junior wide receiver Zachary Tinao- Rabellizsa. “It feels like Hawaii, only the weather is different.”
The recruiting process is similar to how kids are recruited here on the mainland.
The only difference is that the coaches have to rely on highlight films because they are not able to watch the games live.
After players commit to playing at Pacific, the coaches organize a banquet in Hawaii introducing the football program.
The banquet also allows the players to get to know each other.
“They told me that schoolwork was the most important thing when recruiting me,” added Iwasaki. “That made me see how serious they were about school and football.”
Pacific University is quickly becoming known for giving people from Hawaii a chance to play sports at the collegiate level as well as receive a quality education.