College Football Recruiting: Norm Chow and Hawaii on Right Track

By James Gomez

A new day for Hawaii football is about to begin.  Saturday the Warriors will face number one ranked USC in LA in what will likely be a lopsided loss.  Patience.

First year head coach Norm Chow has a wealth of experience as an offensive coordinator from the NFL to the major college football ranks.

The good news for football fans in the 50th state, is that Chow has respected offensive acumen that will likely translate into success on the field.

While the short term prospects for Chow’s crew are less than optimistic, peeking into the future, Warrios fans can’t help but be ripe with anticipation.

Enter the gem of the 2013 recruiting class Aaron Zwahlen.  With pro size standing at 6’3″, and a big league arm, the Modesto product has all the tools in the chest.

Recruiting top prospects to Hawaii may appear to be easy on the surface.  Great weather, world-class beaches, and plenty to do.  Consider a few negatives that Chow must overcome coaching in Manoa.

The islands are at least a five hour plane ride from LA, the team plays in a mid-major conference, and the area is the most isolated populace in the world.

With driving a non-option, a players parents would have to fly to watch their kid play home games.  Which means it would be a rarity.

Trying to compete with Pac-12 and other Mountain West programs for prep stars from the “48” is an uphill battle.

Here is where Chow has an advantage.  Unlike his predecessor Greg McMackin, Chow can connect to the top prospects from Hawaii as a fellow Hawaiian.

A Punahou High School alum, Chow understands what it is like to grow up in the state.  Chow coached high school on the North Shore in the 1970’s.

Another way for Chow to connect, is his heritage as the first Asian-American head coach of a major-college football program.  Most of Hawaii’s population is of Asian descent.

Traditionally, the best talent that the Aloha State has to offer, ends up in major conference schools on the West Coast.  While keeping every gem in-state is impossible, it is highly probable that Chow can secure some of the ones that would have otherwise gotten away.

Zwahlen is making the trip from California to Hawaii.  This is the positive of Chow’s respected resume as an offensive coordinator for the past four decades.

Not only should Chow attract kids from Hawaii, he has the pedigree to reign in out-of-state three and four star prospects.

According to ESPN Recruiting Nation, Zwahlen is a four star prospect.

My feeling is, in the not too distant future, the locals from Kauai to the Big Island will be giving the new coach a big mahalo.

James Gomez is a Pac-12 and Mountain West columnist for Rant Sports and member of the Football Writers Association of America

You can follow James on Twitter as well.

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