All five football players sat in the front row for the first day of Holly Barker’s advanced medical anthropology class on Wednesday.
Barker joked that the students sitting behind Cory Littleton, Micah Hatchie, Erik Kohler, Psalm Wooching and Taz Stevenson could hardly see around that 1,272 pounds of massive talent. The larger point, Barker noted, was that these football are different — this team is different, she insisted.
“There’s something different going on with the academic culture of this team,” Barker said.
And no one embodies that more than Hau’oli Kikaha, John Timu and Danny Shelton. Barker has become a mentor for all three, and she’s starting an independent study with all three each week at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. All three are doing research on a specific area from their cultural heritage: Kika will look at fishing and the native tools used by Pacific islanders; Timu is studying art, and specifically the meaning of Samoan tattoos; and Shelton is researching the traditional adornments worn by Samoan chiefs.
“Each one is taking the pride of their culture and coming back and trying to think about the knowledge that’s in these matrieal goods and how they can be used to connect with younger Pacific islanders so they can leanr about their histories and their past,” Barker said.
It’s a topic near and dear to Kikaha in particular, and I detailed some of that in my feature today on the UW junior defensive end.
Here’s what Barker had to say about Kikaha:
“Hau’oli is one of the very smartest students I have ever had in all my years here. And I’m not putting him in the category ‘as a football player’ — I mean everybody. The guy is brilliant. His academic potential is whatever he wants it to be.”
Kikaha, by the way, has filed paperwork with the NCAA to regain eligibility. He will, no doubt, be granted an additional year for his lost 2012 (because he didn’t play a single down in a game), and he’s “pretty confident” he will get back a second year after tearing his ACL in the fourth game of 2011 — if that’s what he chooses to do.
— Live chat at noon today. We welcome all forms of Dawgs and ‘Cats.
— Saturday’s showdown will feature two of the best running backs in the nation.