Aloha, NFA!

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Bottom Row (Left to Right): Hunter Erickson, Dallas Sooto, Trent Seaborn, Ty McCutcheon, Elton Escobido, Maika Eugenio, Chase Akiyama. Second Row (Left to Right) Coach JC Boice, Darius Chassen, Jayden De laura, Loa Grace, Hunter Copp, Brayden Faamasino, Joshua Keohohou, Coach Nui Uahinui , Coach Daniel Copp Back Row Justin Uahinui

When Justin Uahinui was an up-and-coming sixth grade quarterback, his father Nui started looking around for advanced training. “We just didn’t know the hows and whys, and that’s what I was curious about,” Nui Uahinui said. “It was really hard to find quarterback training in Hawaii. I wanted to know what I was teaching Justin when he would ask me questions. So I did some research and I stumbled upon National Football Academy.”

Father and son boarded a plane to Southern California, and Justin still remembers the impact of his first NFA camp. “It was unreal,” Justin said. “I learned a lot. It was really different compared to what we were used to doing. The fundamental and mechanical aspects and how NFA would teach you in those areas, it really helped me out a lot. Before that, we had DVDs and my dad would train me. But going to that camp and learning face-to-face, it was a great experience. It helped me a lot through my journey.” Nui was equally impressed with the initial NFA experience. “It just opened up our eyes,” he said. “It really helped us develop and understand the system in depth.”

On the flip side, it wasn’t easy to make the long flight from Hawaii to the West Coast for training. “A lot of it is the cost of traveling,” Nui said. “When we had the opportunity to go to the NFA camp in California, we went for it.” Much has changed since the Uahinuis discovered the benefits of NFA. Justin has grown into a standout 6-foot-3, 190-pound quarterback, and he’s headed to the University of Hawaii as a preferred walk-on. “There’s no doubt in my mind I can play college football,” Justin said. “I’m looking forward to getting there and competing with the other quarterbacks.” Nui is looking forward to watching his son play at the next level, and he’s also looking forward to becoming NFA’s new certified coach for Hawaii.

NFA arrives

Last month, Nui and Justin teammed up with JC Boice to stage NFA’s first-ever camp in Hawaii. It was so well received, NFA will be heading back to the Aloha State again in July and every year starting next February. “I’m really fired up,” Nui said. “I’m getting ready and at this point, I’m getting these kids ready to be part of NFA Hawaii.”

Boice is just as anxious as Nui Uahinui to get NFA up and running in Hawaii. “NFA was able to hold a training camp in Honolulu thanks to Coach Daniel Copp and Coach Nui,” Coach Boice said. “Coach Daniel helped secure James Campbell High School and I am really glad it worked out. In leading the training, I learned very quickly just how talented and motivated the quarterbacks in Hawaii are. They are very athletic and extremely coachable. It was refreshing and inspiring. “It was just a great couple of days,” Boice continued. “The talent here is underestimated. NFA is definitely going to establish a presence. We are going to partner with these talented athletes and accelerate their quarterback development. Coach Nui is going to offer on-going regional training and we will continue coming back with our national staff at least a couple times a year. I am already scheduled to come back July 25 and 26. There is some very good talent that we are excited to work with. And to have the support of Nui and his wife Erica is what will make it go. They have done a great job with Justin and now they want to continue to help other young athletes through the process. It’s going to be great!”

Football crazy

Hawaii might conjure up images of surfing and enjoying life on the beach, but football is a very big deal. “It’s pretty popular,” Justin Uahinui said. “It’s everybody’s dream over here.” Said Nui: “Football is really popular here. Those little towns in Texas that are so football crazy? It’s kind of like that.” Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was born in Honolulu, and his success in college and the NFL has helped spread football’s appeal in Hawaii, especially at the QB position.

When he was in Hawaii in February, Coach Boice was impressed with all of the young quarterback talent that turned out for the NFA camp. “For the youth group of QBs, Trent Seaborn is one of the better 8-year-olds I have worked with in a while,” Boice said. “Ty McCutcheon, Austin Escobido and Maika Eugenio were all very impressive young quarterbacks. The whole group of youth QBs was very solid. For the high school group, I was very impressed as well. All of the older quarterbacks improved a lot. Darius Chassen, Jayden Delaura and Loa Grace all caught my eye. Overall, the kids were very solid and talented.”

In good hands

With Nui Uahinui in charge of NFA training in Hawaii, it shouldn’t be long before more quarterbacks like Justin Uahinui emerge and advance to successful college careers. “It is very rewarding to see a father and son work so hard and have success applying the NFA self-correct quarterback system,” Boice said. “Coach Nui is just a pure football guy. He has played and coached for years and he grasped the mechanics quickly. And Justin is clearly very motivated and highly capable. Justin being recruited to the University of Hawaii is a result of his talent and the effort by he and his dad to apply the NFA system. In a personal training session with Justin, I was extremely impressed. He is an incredibly functional athlete. There is nothing he can’t do. He has tremendous balance and is very explosive. What really impressed me as well was how coachable he was and how he was able to make bio-mechanical adjustments on the fly. He was fun to coach. He has the drive and the demeanor to be a very successful college quarterback.”

Nui Uahinui is looking forward to helping NFA build off its successful debut in February. “It was awesome,” he said. “It means a lot for us. A lot of kids were happy, the parents were happy. A lot of the parents where just blown away by the technicalities and the precision that goes into throwing the football. They were totally on board with NFA. I’m really looking forward to working with the kids and just developing quality quarterbacks and building good characters.”

 

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Scot Gregor is an award-winning sportswriter for the Chicago Daily Herald. In addition to writing about Big 10 and Notre Dame football, Gregor has also covered the White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and college basketball. He grew up in Pittsburgh and watched the Steelers rise to prominence in the 1970s. Gregor has a B.S. degree in Journalism from Ohio University

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