The next star from Punahou has a strong bond with Akina
Punahou School in Honolulu is a well known producer of talent in the academic world and athletically. Stanford is aiming to get one of its next football stars in the 2022 class, linebacker Teva Tafiti.
Listed as a weak side defensive end on Rivals, Tafiti is an outside linebacker recruit for the Cardinal. He has also been offered by Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon, Michigan and others.
Stanford is a destination college for Punahou students and Tafiti was excited to earn the offer that he has wanted since his freshman year. He has been talking with defensive backs coach/area recruiter Duane Akina since then.
"We have a really good connection”, Tafiti said. “With him and the school, how he talks about Stanford it feels really good.”
Last year Tafiti would contact Akina "maybe twice a month" to check in with him and remind Akina that he wanted an offer. More recently they've talked about twice a week and he plans to do a virtual visit with Akina.
He's already done one with Washington and Oregon. The entire Ducks coaching staff took part in his "visit" of the Eugene campus.
“Oregon shocked me. The whole coaching staff was on the Zoom call for the virtual visit. They really care about their players. They talked about my film and why I should come to Oregon. I just love that. That was a great feeling of getting on the Zoom with them.”
Washington defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski showed Tafiti around the stadium during a video call. Tafiti also is talking to Michigan and Wisconsin about setting up a virtual visit.
Tafiti has also received a recruiting pitch from his teammate of the past two years, Alaka'i Gilman. The safety signed with Stanford's 2020 class.
“He says just sign the papers already. Commit,” Tafiti laughed. “He’s a very good guy. He told me to just work hard on the books and pick a school that’s right for you.”
His future school needs to meet his football requirements and provide the education he wants so he can study medicine or environmental engineering.