Don’t blink, or you’ll miss something. That’s been the pace of things on the recruiting trail for the Virginia Cavaliers football program this week.
First it was news that QB Brennan Armstrong was coming in. Then the news that QB Wyatt Rector wasn’t. Now, it’s news that another Hawaiian prospect has committed to UVA—this one is offensive lineman Micah Mariteragi.
Mariteragi is a 6’5, 265-pound offensive lineman from Kahuku, just outside Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Kahuku is also the soon-to-be alma mater of Samson Reed, a defensive lineman who committed to Virginia in June.
This is a definite under-the-radar pickup for the Hoos. A three-star, 82-rated prospect according to 247Sports, Mariteragi is not yet rated by Rivals or ESPN, and UVA was his only offer. Virginia only offered him a week ago.
But trust Coach Tujague to know what he wants in a lineman—and to know when he sees it in a prospect.
A lot of those traits come through on film for Miteragi. He’s tall, he’s pretty athletic for a kid his size, and he gets downfield well. Given the size and relative talent of the competition here, it’s more important to watch technique than results, and the technique is mostly there: good base under him when he engages blocks, leads with a punch instead of a hug, takes speed rushers past the quarterback in pass pro, etc. I’m not a big fan of his stance: it looks a little too wide and a little too angled, and he changes it based on the play call (a dead giveaway for defenders).
The coaching staff’s connections to Hawaii were one of the X-factors in recruiting when they arrived in Charlottesville: Were those connections permanent and personal, or were they simply the byproduct of representing BYU? It appears the former is more true, to the benefit of Cavalier fans. Finding underappreciated talent in remote locations can be a huge asset for a school that, like Virginia, has had ups-and-downs in establishing a geographic footprint close to home.
And on top of recruiting Hawaii generally, there appears to be a real connection to Kahuku specifically. Which is a good thing. No one will confuse Kahuku with Bayside or Ocean Lakes or Phoebus in terms of five-star factories. But they produce solid, Power Five starter-level talent pretty much every year. UVA was right in the mix for Aliki Vimahi in 2017, a Kahuku defensive end who enrolled at Utah. Vimahi’s younger brother Enokk is a four-star offensive tackle in the class of 2018 who is in possession of a Virginia offer. Getting a core group of Kahuku guys at UVA can help overcome the distance factor for future recruits.
Aloha, Micah, and welcome to the family!