For offensive lineman Reeve Koehler (Honolulu/Saint Louis School), being a native Hawaiian means overcoming a few stereotypes.
“Most people think Hawaiians are laid back,” Koehler said. “But when it comes to football -- for most of the Hawaiian and Polynesian people -- that is where we get out our anger. On the field is where you see most of the fights and the anger coming out. I play smashmouth football. I am going to try and punch you in the mouth before you punch me. I try to keep up my aggressiveness the whole game.”
That drive and nastiness recently earned Koehler an offer from the University of Georgia after he attended the Mark Richt Camp.
“I came in from Knoxville and I got there a little bit late,” Koehler said. “They really didn’t know I was coming. After the one-on-ones started, I ended up not losing at all. I did really well. All of the coaches liked me and Coach [Mark] Richt said he liked me but he needed to do some background checking and look at some film as well. Then he walked away and I kept touring the athletic facility. He came back about five minutes later and said, ‘I am just going to make an executive decision and offer you.’ ”
With offers from Washington, Washington State, Oregon, California, Arizona State, Hawaii, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Yale, and Tennessee, Koehler should not have been surprised. But Richt caught him off-guard.
“I was in shock because by then I was thinking, ‘He didn’t offer me yet, but I still have a chance I will call him back maybe this weekend and hopefully get the offer,’ ” Koehler said. “So for him to call me back over was shocking.”
The offer from the Bulldogs has special meaning considering where Koehler wants to play.
“Georgia is in the SEC and I have kind of felt ever since I was a freshman that I wanted to play in the SEC,” Koehler said. “Anywhere I go I am going to have to move away so it doesn’t matter how far away it is.”
With a hefty offer list that is still growing, the 6-foot-4, 321-pound guard has a tentative list of his leading schools.
“I kind of have a top four already and with the last spot I am just feeling out some coaches,” Koehler said. “Right now they are all about equal and it is Tennessee, Georgia, Hawaii and Kansas.”
Koehler told DawgNation what he liked about each program:
Hawaii: “Hawaii course is home. It is a program that is going to be turning around, even if it is not this year it will in the next couple years.”
Kansas: “Charlie Weis is just a great coach. His connections to the NFL are really what I am going for.”
Tennessee: “I love the facilities; I love the feeling of family over there. Coach [Sam] Pittman is a great coach.”
Georgia: “I like the area and the facilities. I like the tradition behind Georgia. On top of that I love the campus. I was impressed with the training room. The underwater treadmill -- that was the first one I had ever seen.”
Despite having the top four identified, a decision is still at least six months away.
“I going to cut my list down to five by August and announce it by the Army All-American game or on signing day,” Koehler said.