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College football: Alabama transfer Posa earning his place in line

Updated: 
August 11, 2017 - 8:09am

After four years, Chris Posa has made it to the front of the line.

The past week, Posa has been practicing as the right guard on the Hawaii football team’s No. 1 offensive line.

It has been a long ascent for Posa, who earned an engineering degree and national championship ring — but little playing time — in three years as a walk-on at Alabama before joining the Rainbow Warriors in August 2016.

“I’m just happy to be out here helping the boys,” said Posa, a fifth-year senior who is 15 credits from earning a master’s in civil engineering. “As long as I’m in there, I’m going to keep competing, keep working.”

The starting lineup is not finalized — and the linemen have cross-trained to create options — but Posa has been effective in pass protection, roll-out blocks and communicating with teammates.

“He’s not the biggest guy,” Rolovich said of the 6-foot-4, 290-pound Posa, “but he knows what he’s doing and he’s very passionate about playing for this school. He’s seen a lot of football. He’s been around a lot of good players. He’s fought through some frustration, and now it looks like he’s getting his chance. You can’t pick when that time is. You have to be ready when it comes.”

There were fortunate circumstances that led Posa, who was raised in Commerce, Mich., to Alabama.

“They have those little expos for college — college fairs — and and my mom dragged me to one,” Posa recalled. “They gave me a pamphlet, and it’s talking about a full-ride scholarship if you get a certain ACT (score) and certain GPA. I was lucky enough to meet those requirements.”

Posa, whose cumulative GPA was 4.21, earned an academic scholarship covering eight semesters. His father’s Michigan State roommate, Kamehameha Schools graduate Carter Kamana, recommended Posa to Alabama coach Nick Saban. Saban was Michigan State’s defensive backs coach when Kamana played for the Spartans.

At Alabama, Posa played in one game in three seasons. But each practice, he faced the Tide’s No. 1 defense or watched an offensive line that sent eight players to the NFL in three years. “I learned a lot just from watching them,” said Posa, who practiced at all five line positions.

By earning a degree in three years, Posa could transfer to another Division I school and be exempt from redshirting the first year. He chose UH after discussions with Rolovich and line coach Chris Naeole. Posa played in four of the final five games last year.

Posa and JR Hensley are roommates and competitors for the right guard position. “It’s football,” Hensley said. “You have to live with that. At the end of the day, when the dust settles, it’s what the coaches decide.”

Both guards have formed a bond, sharing similar opinions and tastes. Hensley acknowledged Posa has an on-field feistiness that matches the line’s collective persona.

“He has a good attitude about football,” Hensley said. “He knows football. He’s a smart guy. But he’s also an angry individual. He’s an aggressive kind of guy. When you meet him, it may be intense at first, but it’s always with good intentions. … He’s super serious. But at the same time (off the field), he’s a funny guy and fun to be around.”

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