Vince Manuwai is Centurians #19

HSB Note: “After graduating from the Skippa Diaz School of Hard Knocks at Farrington, Manuwai played guard for the Warriors from 1999 to 2002, de-cleating linemen on his way to earning first-team All-America honors his senior year — one of only five University of Hawaii players ever to do so. A pillar of stability, Manuwai didn’t allow a sack in his last 35 games as a Warrior.

June Jones once said Manuwai could have made his Atlanta Falcons squad as an 18-year-old freshman. Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh once called him the best interior lineman he’s ever coached at Hawaii. And his current coach, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Jack Del Rio, called him a Pro Bowl-caliber left guard.’

About Manuwai, Skippa Diaz said:
“He puts on his blinders. He bites down. He gets to work.” (HSB)

About how Manuwai walked in the opposite direction of a fight during a Farrington High basketball game, current Farrington coach Randall Okimoto said:
“That was a real sight. I won’t forget that. He wanted a chance to play football in college and didn’t want anything he did to jeopardize that.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Manuwai stayed out of trouble and, after starring on the offensive line for the Governors, accepted a scholarship from then-first-year head coach June Jones, becoming a part of Jones’ first recruiting class.”

Praising Manuwai, his former teammate and current UH assistant coach (who shows Manuwai’s sophomore highlight tape to his players) Brain Smith said:
“He would pancake guys with the strike of his hand. He had the best punch I’ve ever seen.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “So powerful were his punches that sometimes even his opponents were incredulous. According to Cavanaugh, during a television timeout in Hawaii’s home matchup with Alabama in 2002, a Crimson Tide defensive lineman who had battled Manuwai all night called him over and asked him how much he bench-pressed. When Manuwai told him he benched around 500 pounds, the lineman swore Manuwai could lift more. With every pancake, national attention increased. Coaches, teammates and eventually pro scouts raved about his athleticism and technique. The “V-Man 65″ campaign, concocted by the Hawaii athletic department, gave the quiet giant enough exposure to be named to the CNN/Sports Illustrated All-America first team.”

About how he doesn’t show his awards to anyone, not even to his children, Manuwai said:
“I never thought I had to express what I got. There’s no reason to parade it around. I don’t want to show anyone up.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “The reason behind such modesty? Maybe it was growing up in Kuhio Park Terrace. Maybe it was playing for Diaz at Farrington, where Manuwai still remembers the stench of his hand-me-down practice jersey. Maybe it was Cavanaugh, who constantly reminded his players that jobs pumping gas were waiting for them if they didn’t fully commit to school and football.”

HSB Note: “The Jaguars, under new head coach Del Rio, used the 73rd overall pick on Manuwai in the 2003 draft. He went on to start 78 of his first 79 games in the league before spending all of last year inactive after tearing two ligaments in his right knee in the season opener. But like the workhorse he is, Manuwai dropped 30 pounds this offseason and is poised to reclaim his starting position on the Jaguars’ offensive line.”

About how Manuwai called him shortly after he signed his first NFL contract, former assistant coach and current Farrington athletic director Harold Tanaka said:
“He said he wanted to donate to our (football) program. I told him no, not yet. I wanted him to take care of himself first.” (HSB)

About how Manuwai called him after signing his second contract asking if he could give to his high school, Tanaka said:
“Of course I said yes.” (HSB)

About how he refused Tanaka’s request to organize a school assembly in appreciation of his gift, Manuwai said:
“I said ‘hell no.’ I wasn’t doing it to get my name out.” (HSB)

About how he’s donating to Farrington again this year and Tanaka will use it to buy new football helmets. Manuwai said:
“I know what it’s like running out with a new helmet on. They should too.” (HSB)

http://www.starbulletin.com/specialprojects/09/centurions/20090712_high_impact_from_low_key_v.html

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