Recruiters who want a top defensive end in 2015 would do well to look west. No, not in California or Oregon, but the really, really far west; past California, and past the miles of ocean, over in Hawaii. There, they'll find Honolulu (Hi.) Punahou's Canton Kaumatule.
The 6'6, 275-pounder is 4-star recruit who ranks 4th among all strong-side defensive ends as of February 2014's 247sports composite. This is all plenty impressive in itself, but gets even more impressive when you realize that all the players ahead of him have 5-stars: Glen Saint Mary (Fl.) Baker's CeCe Jefferson, East St. Louis (IL.)'s Terry Beckner, and Seffner (Fl.) Armwood's Byron Cowart.
With such a favorable ranking nationally, it is probably no surprise that Kaumatule is considered the top player in Hawaii so far, edging out Honolulu (Hi.) Farrington defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko, Honolulu (Hi.) St. Louis center Fred Ulu-Perry, and wide receiver/fellow Punahou teammate Kanawai Noa for that distinction. All four are 4-star recruits.
At least nine schools have offered Kaumatule as of February 2014, including Stanford -- where his brother Luke is a tight end -- Oklahoma, California, Utah, and Ole Miss.
Scouting by Derrell Warren, West Coast Recruiting Analyst (@yssd):
Kaumatule is an absolutely huge-framed defensive line recruit. He measures out at an already college-sized 6’6" 275 pounds. The size and movement he flashes for that size allow him to be scheme diverse. He could play strong-side defensive end in a 4-3 defense, sliding inside to defensive tackle on passing downs, or he could also function well as a 5 technique defensive end in a 3-4 alignment.
On tape, not many runs plays go to Kaumatule’s side. He flashes a good motor however, and is able to track ball carriers down in backside pursuit. He plays off blocks well, able to disengage and flow to the ball.
At the collegiate level, he’ll have to activate his length and lock his elbows more consistently in order to keep his frame clean and maximize his ability to not just set the edge, but occasionally reset his section of the line of scrimmage.
He has impressive lateral quickness for a big man. Often times he will rise out of stance and cross the face of the offensive lineman, getting up-field, and disrupting running plays before they fully develop.
As a pass rusher, Kaumatule appears most comfortable playing off the inside shoulder of the offensive tackle. Likes to wedge his frame in the gap and utilize a quick swim move to get past the offensive lineman and shorten his route the quarterback.
Due to his size, Kaumatule isn’t the most explosive around the edge. That said, he gets off the ball pretty well and flashes some diversity when rushing the passer and he isn’t overly reliant on power.
Kaumatule will be a fun recruit to watch develop as a pass rusher in the future. Presently, his best move when trying to win the edge is probably his rip move. That said, he utilizes a bull rush and carries the movement skills to execute the occasional double move.
Like most kids, Kaumatule will have to rep his pass rush moves to get them become second nature. Quicker execution of these moves will enable him to defeat the bigger and better offensive linemen he’ll face at the college level.