In less than two weeks, dozens of Division I coaches from programs all across the United States will be making their way to Hawaii. These men are not traveling to the Aloha State for a group vacation, or a posh conference, but to scout arguably the largest collection of undiscovered talent in the country at the inaugural All Poly Camp-Hawaii.
"Hawaii produces, per capita, one of the highest numbers of players in the [NFL]," said Linda Fehoko, the Liaison for Hawaii All Poly Sports. "I think there's more that we can produce. These kids eat, sleep, breathe and eat football."
The All Poly Camp was founded in 2001 by Alema Te'o and has been held in Bountiful, Utah every summer since. It was named "All Poly" because the first college coaches and NFL players to work as instructors were of Polynesian ancestry. Over the last eight years, Te'o's camp, which is open to players of all ethnicities, has become one of the premier full-contact camps out there, attracting top-level talent and instructors - like Utah's Kyle Whittingham and Boise State's Chris Petersen - from across the country. More than 50 seniors who attended last year's camp signed with colleges this February.
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In 2006, after Honolulu (HI) Farrington standout Sam Fehoko turned in a dominating performance in Bountiful, the idea of holding an All Poly Camp in Hawaii was first broached.
"When Sam went there, and really went crazy and turned heads, that's when the camp founder and several college coaches said, 'We need to explore Hawaii,'" explained Fehoko, who has three sons - Sam, Whitley, and V.J. - that have signed or will sign with a Division I program. "We are very blessed as a family to be able to go out to the Mainland USA and attend these camps, whereas hundreds of other kids in Hawaii couldn't afford it. That was the reason that we decided to bring the camp into Hawaii."
Over the next three years, Te'o, HHSAA Executive Director Keith Amemiya, the Fehoko family and others worked closely to make this dream a reality.
"Hawaii is a gold mine," said Fehoko. "You've got hundreds of the same brand of Sam Fehokos or Whitley Fehokos or V.J. Fehokos that need to get exposed. I think that is our mission and objective, as our family is involved, to bring it here to Hawaii so that other kids are given the same benefits, opportunities and exposure as our kids have been given."
And the prospects attending the inaugural Hawaiian camp will be getting all of the exposure, if not more, that their counterparts in Bountiful receive. Representatives of the major recruiting services, including Rivals.com, will be in attendance, as well as dozens of well-known Division I college coaches.
"The list increases daily," said Fehoko of the number of coaches who will work the camp as instructors. "We've got the head coach of UCLA (Rick Neuheisel), who has committed to come in with Norm Chow. We've got a variety of head coaches from around the conferences - from Dan Hawkins at Colorado, to [Texas] A&M coming in for these camps."
What sets All Poly Camps apart from other independent camps and combines, is its focus on educating campers on the NCAA Clearinghouse and helping them prepare for the ACT.
"We've gone out to actually work with a group of educators to basically bring a workshop to them during the camp," explained Fehoko. "So for about four to five hours, they will be in workshops for the NCAA Clearinghouse, ACT and SAT prep.
"We have the talent in Hawaii but a lot of the times our kids find out too late to qualify. We're trying to educate the kids, as well as their parents. So the kids that attend the camp will need to bring their parents along."
Having already received an almost overwhelming amount of interest in the 2009 Hawaiian All Poly Camp, plans are already in place to make it a recurring event on the Islands.
"This is going to be the camp for the future in Hawaii," said Fehoko. "We're working really hard to keep it here. It's the buzz on the island, and has been the buzz for the last few months in the press and everything."
Even though more than 400 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors are expected to attend the Elite camp, Fehoko indicated that prospects will still be able to register on the first day of camp.
"Our goal is to not turn a kid away," she said. "We are not going to cap the camp. We are going to actually leave it open. To turn a kid away, with this kind of exposure and resources that we're bringing in, would be an injustice to any kid in Hawaii."
The All Poly Camp-Hawaii will be held on June 29 - July 1 in Honolulu's Kapiolani Park. Prospects interested in registering can do so at the camp's official website.