Tasini makes it official, Utah it is!
Feb. 1, 2012
Defensive end Pasoni Tasini signs his letter of intent to attend Utah University today at Baldwin High School. RODNEY S. YAP photos.
Baldwin standout only Hawaii recruit to sign with Utes
By RODNEY S. YAP / HIsportsfolio.com
Baldwin High School's Pasoni Tasini was the only Hawaii recruit to sign with Utah University today as the Utes closed out their recruiting for 2012 with 28 commitments.
The biggest beneficiaries were the offensive and defensive lines, which claimed 16 of the 28 scholarships and landed three four-star recruits: freshman Hiva Lutui (Euless, Texas/Trinity HS), freshman Jeremiah Poutasi (Las Vegas, Nev./Desert Pines HS) and junior Junior Salt (Glendale, Utah/Mt. San Antonio College).
While the Utes continued their tradition under coach Kyle Whittingham of recruiting primarily freshmen — adding 21 underclassmen — their seven junior college transfers included six linemen.
"Football starts at the line of scrimmage. If you're strong up front, the other positions will usually thrive," said Whittingham. "We needed immediate help up front after losing three all-conference linemen to graduation (offensive linemen Tony Bergstrom and john Cullen and defensive lineman Derrick Shelby) and because of the physicality of Pac-12 football. We believe the junior college linemen we signed will provide immediate help."
"He's just the nicest kid," said Baldwin High Defensive Coordinator Rodney Figeroa of the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Tasini. "Very humble and he loves the game. He's earned everything that's come to him. He works hard.
"He was a leader this year and a lot of kids looked up to him . . . he never gets down on his teammates and he's always hyping them up to do better," Figueroa added. "He wanted to play two sides of the ball this year and he did so for the first time."
Baldwin offensive line coach Brian Harris said Tasini went above and beyond to help the team be successful.
"His willingness to do things for the team," speaks volumes about his character, Harris said. "We asked him to do a lot of things this year. Some kids might have frowned upon it, but Pasoni just took it as a challenge and did what was best for the team. We asked a lot from him and we rode him all the way."
Another priority position was quarterback, where the Utes looked to the future by signing two highly-rated freshmen: Parade All-American Chase Hansen from Utah's Lone Peak High School and California prep star Travis Wilson (San Clemente HS).
"The Pac-12 conference is loaded at the quarterback position and the two we signed are very talented and should fit right in that mold," said Whittingham.
In addition to the 15 linemen and two quarterbacks, the Utes added three defensive backs--including four-star freshman Justin Thomas (Orange, Texas/West Orange-Stark HS) --two linebackers and two receivers.
The coaching staff mined seven states for the 2012 class, signing 11 players from Utah, nine from California, three from Texas, two from Louisiana and one each from Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii. The list includes two mid-year junior college players who signed National Letters of Intent in December.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Exclusive interview with Pasoni, his mother, Nola, teammates, teachers, and staff members at Baldwin to come.
Plans to serve a church mission before joining the Utes ... 2010-11 Maui News Maui Interscholastic League Male Athlete of the Year and two-time MIL Defensive Player of the Year ... three-time first-team All-MIL ... led Baldwin High (Hawaii) to the 2011 state semifinal game ... Baldwin won the league football title all four years (2008-10) ... as a junior, he played for MIL Division I championship teams in football, basketball, volleyball and track and field, winning league titles in the shot put and discus ... placed fourth in the shot put at the 2011 state track and field meet ...three-sport MIL All-Star as a junior in 2010-11 (football, basketball and track and field) ... also lettered in volleyball ... first-team All-MIL in basketball as a sophomore and junior ... son of Pone Pate and Nola Pasini ... has four brothers and nine sisters ... full name is Pasoni Kaianoano Tasini (pronounced pa-sony tah-see-nee) ... born May 31, 1993.