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Real reason Rams drafted Hoomanawanui was to double fan base :>)

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  • Real reason Rams drafted Hoomanawanui was to double fan base :>)

    New Rams tight end grew up in Bloomington



    It only sounds as if the Rams searched hither and yon to find one of their fifth-round picks, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. In reality, he was right in their own backyard.

    That last name is pronounced ho-oh-muh-now-uh-NEW-ee, "Oh-oh" for short. Though his father, Isy, is of Hawaiian descent, the family of his mother, Anne, hails from Jerseyville, Ill. He grew up in Bloomington, Ill., 45 minutes from his alma mater, Illinois.

    "Family and friends say they're Rams fans now, no matter what they were before," Hoomanawanui said. "It will be great that my family can see me whenever they want to."
    Hoomanawanui, 6-4 and 264 pounds, started his senior season on the watch list for the Mackey Award, given to the best tight end, but missed four games last year because of an ankle injury. He finished with just 10 receptions for 114 yards.

    "It was a bump in the road," he said "It pulled me down a lot, but I was glad I was able to come back and (play) the last two games, go to the Senior Bowl and show everyone that I'm healed from that and that I can keep moving on."

    Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said tight ends coach Frank Leonard called Hoomanawanui "well-rounded. It seems that tight ends get tagged nowadays as either pass receiving tight ends or the blocking tight end. ... We didn't tag him one way or the other, and he's got size."

    The first area player taken Saturday was Clay Harbor of Missouri State, 125th overall, by Philadelphia late in the fourth round. How the Eagles will use him remains a mystery.

    A tight end with the Bears, Harbor is Missouri State's career leader in pass receptions, with 150. He impressed scouts with three receptions for 22 yards as a last-minute replacement in the East-West Shrine Game and with his workouts before the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game. He appeared at the combine as a tight end, yet was listed as a fullback when the Eagles drafted him.

    "I can play fullback, slot, halfback, and I plan on doing that. Whatever the coaches want me to do, I'll do it," he told reporters in Philadelphia.

    Eagles coach Andy Reid likewise praised Harbor's versatility.

    "I'm not saying he's an offensive lineman, but he can control a defensive end or linebacker and is willing to stick his nose in there," Reid said in his post draft press conference. "When you see him run his routes, you see he's a skilled athlete."

    Most draft experts expected Harbor to go off the board in the third or fourth round, which stretched his anxiety over two days.

    "I was getting a little worried as they got deeper in the third and fourth round, but it was a great feeling when my phone rang," Harbor said.

    The Jacksonville Jaguars took a chance on Harbor's Missouri Valley Football Conference rival, Southern Illinois running back Deji Karim, with the 11th pick of the sixth round. A finalist for the Walter Payton award, given to the top player in the Football Championship Subdivision, Karim finished last season with 1,694 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.

    Karim was not invited to the combine but outjumped every running back in Indianapolis by two inches with a vertical leap of 43 inches at his pro day. At 5-9 and 209 pounds, Karim bears an eerie resemblance in stature to the Jags' starting running back, Maurice Jones-Drew.

    Jaguars GM Gene Smith praised Karim's "explosive playmaking speed," and said he would use him as a specialty halfback and kick returner. A high school teammate of Rams QB Sam Bradford, Karim averaged 30.9 yards per return last year.

    Reporters in Jacksonville noted that Karim was overcome with emotion on a conference call, saying, "It's been my dream since I was a little kid. This is a stepping stone to what I want to get accomplished."

    Kyle Calloway, a 6-6, 323-pound offensive tackle from Belleville East and Iowa, went to the Buffalo Bills in the seventh round, 216th overall.

  • #2
    Re: Real reason Rams drafted Hoomanawanui was to double fan base :>)

    Originally posted by RamsSB99 View Post
    "Family and friends say they're Rams fans now, no matter what they were before," Hoomanawanui said. "It will be great that my family can see me whenever they want to."
    His family will not only be able to see him when they want but they should be able to choose any seat they like. If they don't get the one they like they normally open up by half time. I hope he has a large family and several friends from growing up in Illinois and going to college there. Lets say he has 20 loyal family and friends that could boost Ram fan attendance by 50% if they wind up with another 1 win season.


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    • Nick
      Rams have high hopes for 'Uh-Oh'
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      Saturday, Jul. 31, 2010

      ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams rookie tight end Michael Hoomanawanui attributes his soft hands to some tough pass-catching drills with his father.

      "I remember in my younger days when me and my dad would play catch in the backyard, he would beam it at me," Hoomanawanui said. "When I was younger, I would cry. I would tell him to slow down. I guess it paid off in the long run."

      Hoomanawanui's father, Isy, was a former linebacker at Illinois State. So not all of those rocket throws hit off the younger Hoomanawanui's hands.

      "The chest, face, you name it," Hoomanawanui said. "Being 5 years old trying to catch a fastball isn't that easy. Like I said, I guess it paid off."

      The 6-foot-4, 264-pound Hoomanawanui (pronounced Ho-of-muh-now-wa-new-e) was a fifth-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft out of the University of Illinois. He went by the nickname "Uh-oh" in college.

      Hoomanawanui's receiving skills caught the attention of Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo on the first day of training camp.

      "I was watching (film) last night, and he's a very natural catcher, I think," Spagnuolo said. "He has done a lot of that at Illinois, and obviously he was very successful at it. That sticks right out, but there is a lot going in to playing tight end in the NFL, so he has a lot to learn. He's an eager guy."

      The Rams are counting on having both Hoomanawanui and rookie Fendi Onobun, a sixth-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft, contribute this season.

      "We're very hopeful with those two guys, Mike and Fendi," Spagnuolo said. "They flashed. They do some good things. Like every rookie, they made some mistakes, but up to this point, (tight ends coach) Frank (Leonard), offensive coordinator Pat (Shurmur) and myself have a little bit of excitement about those two guys. We'll see where they go from here."

      Hoomanawanui said he realizes that the competition for the starting job at tight end is wide open. The other candidates are Daniel Fells and Billy Bajema, who both saw playing time last season for the Rams, and Darcy Johnson, who played in 13 games last season for the New York Giants.

      "Coach let's us know that every day," Hoomanawanui said. "It definitely is in the back of our minds. You just have to worry about yourself and do what you're supposed to do and everything will fall into place."

      Hoomanawanui caught 40 passes for 490 yards and four touchdowns over his final three seasons with the Illini.

      He was known for his blocking in the running game, and he was looking forward to the Rams putting on full pads.

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