In the midst of a 10-2 season that is on the verge of a playoff run, Blue Springs (Mo.) tight end Tanner Taula received a bit of positive news earlier in the week. Despite the distance, the University of Hawaii reached out to the senior prospect with a scholarship offer, one that caught his attention due to the recency of the Rainbow Warriors’ interest.
“It was really out of left field,” Taula told Today’s U. “It was crazy. A bunch of coaches followed me, so I direct messaged the tight end coach and said, ‘whats going on?’ He said they were watching my film and really liked it. Ten minutes later I was on a conference call with their head coach and coach [Nick] Rolovich, he said they they’re going to offer me a scholarship. It was crazy. I was like wow.”
Really excited and blessed to have an offer from the University of Hawaii! pic.twitter.com/tG18wOWpUT
— Tanner Taula (@tannertaula) November 7, 2016
One connection that exists between Taula and Hawaii is his ethnic background, since he is half Samoan and the Rainbow Warriors have a lot of Polynesians within the program, so that is one intriguing factor for the Missouri native. Now that Taula has an offer from Hawaii under his belt, the school has jumped into exceptional position to receive an official visit from the 6-foot-6, 220-pound tight end after his season concludes.
“I’m not for sure yet,” Taula said. “I definitely want to go to Hawaii now though. That one and the other four, I think I’m probably going to take all five because I haven’t put a lot of thought into it. I don’t know.”
As for which other schools may be in play for Taula’s official visits, several other programs have remained factors in his recruitment, albeit on the Division II level. Since his senior campaign is still ongoing, however, other FBS programs have an opportunity to follow Hawaii’s lead and enter the mix.
“Recruiting has been pretty good,” Taula said. “I’ve been pretty blessed with most of my opportunities. I have 13 offers right now, Hawaii was my 13th and my first FBS, though. I have a lot of offers from the Missouri Valley schools, all those FCS schools. Recently Holy Cross and Jacksonville State offered me, that was like two weeks ago, Then yesterday Hawaii offered me, which was pretty cool.”
The longer Taula’s season stretches on, which includes a matchup with Christian Brothers (11-1) this week, programs will have more film on the versatile tight end to examine. Taula says his team is confident entering this playoff contest, but the ultimate benchmark exists several weeks down the road.
“I think we are pretty happy with our season so far,” Taula said. “Our main goal is to win states, so I think that is what is going to determine it.”
One factor that has helped push Taula’s season in a positive direction from a personal standpoint is the physical transformation that he undertook during the offseason between junior and senior seasons.
“Last year, I think I played pretty good, but I was skinny and weak,” Taula said. “This whole offseason I tried to focus on getting bigger, stronger, getting to be a better blocker and play in the box better. I think in that perspective, I played a lot better this season. I was happy with how I came out, a lot more physical.”
Blue Springs will need another physical performance from Taula and his teammates this week in order to keep their dream of winning states alive.