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Hawaiian 8th-grader ‘overcome with joy’ about UM offer

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Eighth-grade quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava, second from left, poses for a photo with Jim Harbaugh.

Eighth-grader Sol-Jay Maiava was humbled that Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh knew his name.

But the 6-foot-1, 180-pound dual-threat quarterback was blown away when Harbaugh verbally offered him following an camp Tuesday at Laie Park on Oahu in Hawaii.

It was Maiava’s first scholarship offer, and Michigan’s first offer to a prospect in the 2020 class. Per NCAA rules, schools can't extend official written offers until Aug. 1 before a prospect's senior season, but there's no age limit on verbal offers.

“Man, it was crazy. I can't even explain the feeling,” Maiava told The Detroit News on Thursday. “I was so happy because Michigan is one of my top schools and to get an offer from them is just awesome. I’m very goal-oriented and one of my goals was to get an offer before I started my freshman year (at Hawaii’s Kahuku High). I'm blessed I got to fulfill that goal.”

Maiava said he never expected his first offer to come from a school “way out east.” Rather, he thought it would have come from a program on the West Coast.

“It still hasn't soaked all the way in but I'm enjoying it for a little bit,” he said. “I'm just a kid trying to chase my dreams and cross off goals. It just gives me more motivation moving forward.”

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Maiava said he thinks it was his competitiveness that impressed Harbaugh and caught his eye.

“Out here on the North Shore, we are kind of known to be somewhat of a football factory here on the islands and I take pride in that,” Maiava said. “What was crazy is that we had a couple of competition races and I won the first one. Coach (Harbaugh) got a hold of me to congratulate me and he already knew who I was. That was huge for me.”

But the bigger news came following the camp when UM director of player personnel Tony Tuioti told Maiava to stick around because they wanted to talk to him and his parents.

“I met Coach Harbaugh and he said he was going to offer me a scholarship and that he was ready to offer me,” Maiava recalled. “I was overcome with joy. I just hugged them and said, ‘Thank you.’ And my parents also did the same.

“My mom actually cried because she was so proud of me and knows all the hard work I've been putting in and will continue to put in.”

Maiava said Harbaugh also stressed the importance of school and talked about having the love of the game.

“Going to the camp just strengthened my opinion about Michigan and how highly I think about its rich football tradition,” Maiava said.

Maiava said since the news of his Michigan offer, he and his parents have received an outpouring of congratulatory texts and Facebook posts.

“Everyone has just been excited for me and I'm just grateful and blessed to be in this position,” Maiava said. “It's a win not only for me and my family, but also a win for my community because here on the North Shore it's such a family atmosphere. Everyone knows everyone and we all look out for each other.”

jhawkins@detroitnews.com

Twitter @jamesbhawkins