Makihele takes it upon himself to get in front of D1 coaches

June 13, 2019
Alani Makihele football

Alani Makihele

In search of a NCAA D1 scholarship, Alani Makihele of Anchorage will spend much of his summer out of state.

With no college football team in Alaska, he doesn’t have a choice.

Exposure is tough to come by for high school players from 907. If college coaches don’t see you up close and personal, they don’t know who you are.

Makihele – a 6-foot-4, 330-pound Class of 2020 all-conference offensive lineman – has already spent much of May and June traveling to several West Coast states to participate in camps.

“Compared to the Lower 48, I’m behind in the game,” he told me. “It seems like unless you move out of Alaska or spend money to fly out to get exposure, it’s hard to get seen.”

Makihele, of West High fame, has documented his journey on Twitter, hoping his highlights pique the interest of even more coaches.

“And I’ve gotten a lot of conversations going with D1 coaches on Twitter, and a lot are following me. Not sure what all that means,” he said.

Building relationships is vital, but nothing compares to showing out at evaluation camps.

Makihele saw how other Alaskans, like his older brother Toni, were limited with college opportunities because they didn’t get out of the state. Toni, a former all-state player at Dimond High, is now playing at NCAA D2 Eastern New Mexico University.

“They all got recruited to ENMU because they didn’t get out, and no one came here other than the All Alaska Camp coaches,” Makihele said.

Then he pointed to others, such as Brandon Pili (USC), Derryk Snell (Montana State) and Thomas Sio (Oregon State), to having success because they got out.

“As far as offers, I’ve received my first D1 offer from UNLV, and ENMU has also offered as a D2,” Makihele said. “I’m not a D1 or bust, I’m thankful for all offers. I’d like to pursue a degree in criminal justice, but am interested in philosophy as well.”

Still on his schedule are stops at USC, Montana State, Hawaii, Washington.

“Then it’s All Alaska Camp in July,” he said.

Makihele has recently also drawn increased interest from Oregon and BYU. The Ducks invited him back for a second look and a BYU offensive line coach traveled to Alaska two weeks ago to see him in person.

“After watching my highlights, he had to see for himself,” Makihele said. “He’s coming back during the season.”