GianCarlo Rufo is thinking ahead.
Yesterday, the Punahou linebacker signed his national letter of intent to play for Georgetown, a Division I FCS school.
And while most of the focus on signing day is on all the players who choose D-I FBS schools, Bedrock Sports Hawaii thinks Rufo’s decision is noteworthy because he was thinking about his education just as much as he was about his college football. career Rufo had offers to two FBS D-I schools, Arizona and Hawaii, and had offers to be a walk-on at some Power-5 schools.
“The one offer that stood out to me was from Georgetown University, one of the top universities in the nation,” Rufo said. “The opportunity to continue to play football at a high level and get an amazing education was the best thing I could have asked for. My recruitment was a pretty frustrating experience. I felt like I was under-recruited and should have been getting more looks, especially with the season I was having. However, I am grateful for the coaches who extended opportunities to continue my career at their schools.”
For Rufo and Punahou, 2022 was a banner season. The Buff ‘N Blue won the ILH for the first time since 2014 and made it all the state Open Division final, where they lost 20-0 to Kahuku.
“My senior football season went exactly as I planned and worked extremely hard for,” said Rufo, who was Punahou’s defensive MVP and a captain, the ILH defensive player of the year and an All-State first team selection. Although we came up short of the main goal, I was tremendously proud of my teammates, especially my linebackers, for what we accomplished. This year we reminded the state what Punahou football is about, and we reset the standard for the years to come. And receiving all of those accolades was truly an honor and blessing to my family and I. To think that my name will be placed alongside some of the biggest and most accomplished names to come out of the state before me is surreal.”
Rufo also mentioned his memorable official visit to the Hoyas’ campus in Washington, D.C.
“That was an amazing experience,” he said. “My mom and I were treated with amazing hospitality, and we really got the feeling that I was wanted there — which wasn’t as clear from the other schools. The campus, facilities and city were all beautiful, but it was the people there that made me feel like I was at my next home. There are a good amount of boys from Hawaii who all spoke very highly of the school and program, which made my decision much easier. Additionally, (linebackers) coach (Trey) Henderson and head coach (Rob) Sgarlata were very clear on what they saw in me and where they envisioned me on the defense. I trust that Georgetown University will provide the best opportunities for me to learn and grow on and off the field while preparing me for my future and life after football.”
Three players from Hawaii were on the Georgetown roster last season: offensive linemen Losini Maka, Kaysen Mahuka-Kaawa and Sam Telesa.