Jaron Keawe Sagapolutele is ready to carry the torch.

After seeing Tua Tagovailoa stockpile trophies at Alabama on his way to the NFL and closely studying Dillon Gabriel as he's accumulated thousands of passing yards, first at UCF and then Oklahoma en route to Oregon, the next star left-handed quarterback from the state of Hawaii aims to follow their lead.

Sagapolutele (pronunced: SANG-ah-poh-lu-tele) is a three-star prospect from Ewa Beach (Hawaii) Campbell and is one of just two uncommitted signal callers with a ticket to the prestigious Elite 11 Finals in Los Angeles next month. Although he doesn't possess any scholarships from schools located east of Denver, Sagapolutele ranks No. 1 among players in the Aloha State for the 2025 class, No. 26 nationally among quarterbacks, per 247Sports, and heads into the premier summer event brimming with confidence.

"Coming from Hawaii, we don't often get these opportunities to be among a selected few," Sagapolutele said. "The Elite 11 Finals is a huge platform. This is everything and I really want to prove that I am one of the top guys. I believe I am and hopefully I'm able to show the amount of work I have put in."

There is a reason Sagapolutele's self belief is high -- the 6-foot-3, 205-pound gunslinger has passed for more than 7,200 yards and 68 touchdowns dating back to the start of his sophomore year. If those numbers suggest that the sport has been easy for Sagapolutele, consider that his preparation for Friday nights began when coaches allowed him to throw against high schoolers as a fifth grader.

Even when his older brother, John, was making noise as a freshman starter on varsity for renowned Punahou School on his way to signing with the hometown Rainbow Warriors, there was already significant buzz around Jaron and how the promising lefty had something special to his game.

"Hawaii is so small that, growing up, you're always aware of the guys in front of you and those coming behind you," said Gabriel, who was Hawaii's Gatorade player of the year for the 2018 season. "Looking at it now Jaron has everything you want. From a physical standpoint he's taller than me and Tua, and he can sling it just as good. You look at the person and you're getting a genuine, authentic kid from the islands who is all about family. Who wouldn't want a guy like that in their program?"

Campbell head coach Darren Johnson argues that his star player would have a larger national profile and more suitors if he played his high school ball on the mainland. It's an obstacle that many others have faced, including Gabriel, who didn't see his stock skyrocket until close to signing day when the likes of Georgia and USC all made a late charge.

"It's a big enough accomplishment just to get other people to recognize him all the way out here," Johnson said. "We know he can play, but college coaches just have to see him. He is going to have more offers. We know that will happen because he will turn heads."

Tagovailoa, a former five-star who collected a boatload of blue-blood offers, also had to seize his initial opportunity when recruiters flocked to Honolulu to see him throw.

"During our process, recruiting was more word of mouth and schools didn't travel to the islands much," said Tagovailoa's father, Galu. "We had the Rich Miano camp at the University of Hawaii and a lot of big schools came out, but one of the reasons why Tua got noticed was because Marcus Mariota was doing so great in college. Coaches were talking about another kid from the same high school where Marcus came from who might be just as good or even better than Marcus. That's kind of how things got going. Recruiting is a different game now, but Jaron has special qualities, too. I watched him throw last year and the ball just pops out of his hand."

Tagovailoa claimed MVP honors at the Elite 11 Finals in 2016. Johnson said he hopes the same stage can shine a spotlight on Sagapolutele's abilities ahead of what should be a pivotal point in his recruitment. Only Utah State (May 31), Oregon State (June 7) and Boise State (June 13) have so far locked in Sagapolutele for official visits. Colorado has also offered, while Oregon and USC are two teams with quarterback commitments in the 2025 class which expressed interest in recent weeks.

The momentum continued to simmer this spring. Earlier this month Sagapolutele made the trek to Las Vegas where he was named Alpha Dog at the Elite 11 Regional. His performance there eventually earned him a spot in the Finals.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound gunslinger has passed for more than 7,200 yards and 68 touchdowns dating back to his sophomore year.

"It's just natural arm talent with Jaron," said Campbell offensive coordinator Leon Cordeiro, the father of former UH and San Jose State quarterback, and recent Seattle Seahawks free-agent signing, Chevan Cordeiro. "Most East Coast schools don't come out here and, honestly, Jaron is better than most of the quarterbacks committed to those East Coast schools. Dillon was the same way and he didn't get many offers until late in the process. Jaron still has a lot to work on – his footwork can get better, scheme wise he can improve on reading defenses – but his arm talent is special. Just wait until they see what he develops into in a few years."

Hawaii's distance from the contiguous United States, of course, is the most deterring obstacle for prospective recruits. Social media and the increased use of video have erased some hurdles, but it's still difficult for a college coach to offer a player without getting an in-person look. And unless a prospect flies across the Pacific for events college coaches will attend, there might be only one chance per year to make that lasting impression.

"Manti Te'o, DeForest Buckner and Marcus Mariota kind of started it for us in Hawaii and helped a bunch of other guys get looks," Gabriel said. "In the past 10 years we have really seen it grow. Colleges aren't only going to the islands for defensive linemen, offensive linemen and linebackers anymore. It's also about the skill positions, so the quarterbacks can definitely make an impact on drawing exposure."

Gabriel will serve as a college counselor at the Elite 11 Finals and looks forward to interacting with the competitors. He realizes the influence he could have on the future of the position, even if that means his name eventually gets wiped from some record books.

"Jaron is probably going to break all my high school stats," Gabriel said with a laugh. "Watching Tua do what he did gave me the juice that I could do it, too. I beat Tua's records and Jaron is the next guy up. I still watch Hawaii football on Fridays and the important part for me is to be able to inspire Jaron and others like Kini McMillan at Mililani, just like Marcus inspired me, just like I was able to learn from McKenzie Milton both in high school and in college. That's all I want to be for the younger guys."

And so, in less than three weeks, an inspired Sagapolutele will walk through the terminal at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport to board his flight to LAX with one sole motivation.

"I'll be locked in," Sagapolutele said, "with the mindset on winning the whole thing, to show that Hawaii can compete with the mainland, just like others have before me."

MORE: Latest on the status of 2025's top quarterbacks as summer visits heat up