- Corey Long, Reporter, RecruitingNation
Generally, the University of Hawaii keeps its recruiting concentrated to the Hawaiian Islands and the West Coast but the Warriors have had some success in Florida.
Two seasons ago former Tampa (Fla.) Plant wide receiver Allen Sampson signed with Hawaii and both Miami Southridge cornerback Ne'Quan Phillips and Miramar (Fla.) safety Marrell Jackson will join the Warriors this summer after signing with the school in February.
This year, Hawaii has targeted several players in the state and assistant coach Chris Demarest was on hand Friday to watch Fort Myers (Fla.) Dunbar wide receiver Johnell Barnes in his spring game. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound pound athlete tried to give them a show.
"I had a pretty good game on Friday and I think I showed a lot of people what I can do," Barnes said. "I had four catches for about 66 yards and a touchdown. I also threw a touchdown pass."
Barnes has offers from Duke, Northwestern, Western Kentucky, UConn, Akron, UMass and Florida International but it's clear that Hawaii stands out.
"I've had a chance to talk with coach Demarest and he is just a great guy," Barnes said. "Hawaii is real high on my list and the distance doesn't matter to me because they have great coaches and play good football. Don't get me wrong, I like the other schools as well. Right now it's just about me trying to get better and improve every day."
Barnes said there are no favorites in his group yet and FIU, Duke and UConn are all actively pursuing him.
"They are generally looking at me as a wide receiver and that's where I love playing," Barnes said. "Hawaii is looking at me as a corner because they need defensive backs. I'm open to any position really as long as I can compete."