Tech goes to Hawaii to make scholarship offer

October 24, 2015 Atlanta - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Florida State Seminoles take on the field before their game at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, October 24, 2015. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Georgia Tech’s recruiting territory generally covers Georgia and contiguous states. On the 2015 roster, for instance, only nine scholarship players did not fit that description.

It’s only an offer, but Tech has gone far afield with its recruitment of a defensive end from Hawaii, Aliki Vimahi. The three-star prospect from Kahuku High announced the offer on his Twitter account recently.

While NCAA rules prohibit coaches from speaking directly about prospects, wide receivers coach Buzz Preston acknowledged that his recruiting travels had taken him to Hawaii in May. Preston played collegiately at Hawaii and then got his coaching start there.

“We tend to just try to look around and see if we can find guys that fit what we want, what we need here at Georgia Tech,” Preston said. “Can they fit in, and are they good enough? And so you just try to always expand (the search), because Georgia Tech is different. It takes a unique kind of individual to come here.”

Safety Shaun Kagawa is from Hawaii, although he didn’t come to Tech straight out of high school. Kagawa was at the Army prep school for a semester before withdrawing, then was signed with SMU before being released from his letter of intent and ultimately selecting Tech. He was connected to Tech through Kagawa’s coaches at SMU and Army.

Tech’s 2016 class is more geographically diverse than most preceding it in coach Paul Johnson’s tenure, including players from California (quarterback Lucas Johnson), New Mexico (junior-college transfer defensive end Desmond Branch), Louisiana (defensive end Jahaziel Lee) and Texas (guard Parker Braun).

Vimahi has offers from BYU, Utah, Oregon State, Hawaii, Colorado, Washington State and Virginia, among others. The apparent connection with Virginia is that Cavaliers coach Bronco Mendenhall was previously at BYU.


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