KISSIMMEE, FL — When one thinks of Hawaii, the images of girls dancing in hula skirts, luaus, leis, screensaver-worthy vistas of palm trees and beaches quickly come to mind.
One also thinks of volcanoes, Maui Maui sandwiches, pineapples and big screen movie productions such as Pearl Harbor and TV shows such as “Hawaii 5-0”, but thanks to four standouts playing in both the NFL and college football, the Aloha State is quickly becoming known for something else: football.
In the football world, the only thing ever associated with State No.50 was the annual NFL Pro Bowl that was held in Honolulu from 1979 until this coming season, was treated as a working vacation to surf, relax and clang some pads.
Now, it is being seen as the hottest–pardon the pun–new breeding ground and undiscovered country in finding the next great NFL quarterback.
Case in point. Marcus Mariota, former 2014 Heisman Trophy winner and No.2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft becoming the first-ever Hawaiian to win the award, played at local powerhouse Saint Louis High in Honolulu.
And it appears that the Aloha QB wave has splashed down in the Southeast with Alabama Crimson Tide QB–and national title game hero– Ewa Beach native Tua Tagovailoa also a Saint Louis High alum, Ole Miss Rebels QB Jordan Ta’amu of Pearl City and Pearl City High and UCF Knights QB and 2018 Heisman Trophy contender McKenzie Milton carving up the American Athletic Conference like a Hawaiian roasted pig, are set to lift Hawaii into the national QB spotlight.
It is said amongst football circles that you look for offensive linemen from the Midwest, defensive linemen and backs from the South, wide receivers and tailbacks from the South and West Coast and your QB from the West Coast, most notably California.
Based on the current success of Mariota, Tagovailoa, Ta’amu and Milton, Hawaii is wuickly changing that stereotype entirely and appears to become know for something else besides being a pineapple-filled, volcanic tropical paradise.