The University of Hawaii’s football program made waves this week when head coach Nick Rolovich offered a scholarship to an 11-year-old who won’t even be in high school until over three years from now.
Titan Lacaden, who recently finished fifth grade, plays for the All Blacks Crusaders in Kapolei, Hawaii. The team was co-founded by his father, Frank Lacaden.
“He’s definitely a special kid,” Frank Lacaden told Hawaii’s KITV.
Special enough, it seems, to have received his first college football scholarship offer from the state’s flagship university in Honolulu.
“It was heavy, it felt like a whole block of cinder blocks came on my shoulders,” Titan Lacaden told KITV.
Even with college seven or eight years away, he added, “My mom is forcing me to go to UH, she doesn’t want me to leave home.”
This offer is no doubt extreme, and puts others we’ve seen like those from Lane Kiffin to shame.
As Titan’s father told KITV, though, he knew football was his son’s game when Titan picked up a football and threw it for the first time at 2 years old. The talent has grown from there.
“I’ve been coaching for over 25 years, at St. Louis High School,” Frank Lacaden said, “and a few years here at Kapolei, and I’ve been here and I’ve seen a lot of kids and done a lot of camps, and at this age I have not seen somebody with the skills that he has.”
Titan’s father said Rolovich talked to their family at a football camp, taking him aside and asking how he felt about his son being offered. Rolovich, entering his second year as Hawaii’s head coach, was the offensive coordinator at Nevada while Titan’s older brother, Jake Lacaden, played linebacker there.
“I’ve been through the recruiting process many times, and it’s a long, vigorous, narrow road, and many reach the door,” Frank told KTVI. “But there’s many times that the door just doesn’t answer, and so when opportunity knocks you’ve got to enter, you’ve got to go, and so we went in.”
Whether Titan Lacaden stays with football is something that will unfold through the years. For now, he’s apparently a unique enough talent for a local university to make an unprecedented move.