When Hawaii plays at Lousiana Tech tonight, many of the Warriors will have a lot more than football on their mind. Several Hawaii players have ties to Samoa, which is reeling following an earthquake and a tsunami.
While the resolve of many of the players may be tested, the players still have a job to do. And thus, so do talent evaluators. Unlike year's past, Hawaii has very few draftable upperclassmen.
Here's a quick look at who to pay attention to tonight.
John Estes, 6'3, 300 pounds (No. 55)
A first-team all-conference pick the past two seasons, Estes has made his name as a solid all-around center. He has quick feet that he always keeps in motion in run blocking. Once he locks onto a player, he generally sticks in front of them. However, he has a tendency to get high in his stance allowing defenders to push him back.
Smith is an undersized sparkplug of a defensive tackle. His frame is probably maxed out, but he's very strong and stout against the run. He could make for a solid three-technique tackle at the next level. Tonight's game, against a powerful Hawaii offensive line, will be a great showcase for Smith's skills.
Antonio Baker, FS, 5'11, 208 pounds (No. 34)
Entering his third year as the Bulldogs' free safety, Baker has more than 300 career tackles and is a consistent performer. He's an intelligent player who makes the adjustment calls for Louisiana Tech and is alway in the middle of the action. Baker doesn't have great power, but he's solid in coverage. He might only be a backup and special teams performer at the next level.
I felt the need to post this horrifying photo from tonight's game. In the booth with Rece Davis, Mark May and Lou Holtz was former basketball superstar Karl Malone.
The Mailman was certainly delivering some creepiness. Observe: