EXCLUSIVE: Two Priority Michigan State, Jonathan Smith Recruiting Targets Share Special Connection

In this Spartan Nation exclusive, three-star offensive line targets Darius Afalava and Houston Kaahaaina-Torres share their thoughts on a friendship outside of their Michigan State Spartans football recruitment.
October 20, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans helmet on the sideline in the first quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
October 20, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans helmet on the sideline in the first quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan State Spartans and head coach Jonathan Smith have been recruiting the West Coast hard in an attempt to maintain Smith's pipeline from his Oregon State tenure.

Two notable 2025 recruits from out west have been on my radar as a reporter -- three-star interior offensive linemen Darius Afalava and Houston Kaahaaina-Torres. Both are talented linemen from Hawaii, though Afalava's family moved from Hawaii to Utah during the pandemic so he could continue his football career at Skyridge High School.

In speaking with Afalava, I learned that the two knew each other. They had spent their May 31 official visit paired up as offensive lineman. Their tour guides were freshman offensive linemen and brothers Charlton and Mercer Luniewski.

However, Afalava and Kaahaaina-Torres had known each other long before their visit.

"Me and Houston are good friends," Afalava told me. "So I think when I figured it out, I saw a graphic showing the people that were going to be there, and I saw Houston's name pop up. I called him and I was like, 'Yo you're gonna be there?' And he told me yeah."

Contact was limited for a period of time during their freshman and sophomore years before they entered their junior seasons.

"It was camp season, and I went to a lot of different camps that year, and I bumped into him at Oregon. Oregon's camp. And I think after I went to Oregon, we kept meeting up at different camps nearly, unintentionally," Afalava said. "And we really kept in touch after that. This past year we met at the Rivals camp again. Then like, after that we've just been keeping in touch with each other like almost every week."

Kaahaaina-Torres reaffirmed to me that the Rivals camp was a big moment for them to reconnect on the recruiting trail. The recruitment process itself seems to have brought them closer together, not just when it comes to camps and visits, but as a topic of discussion.

"We've kinda just been talking back and forth like how recruiting is going, kinda ask each other questions about like, about this college and like what we see [in] it," Kaahaaina-Torres said. "So, we've kinda grown close together. Even on this Michigan State trip, we hung out a lot, so it was really cool. I got to meet his family, he got to meet mine. So I can say that we're pretty close."

Kaahaaina-Torres said that their being from Hawaii gives them a certain "familiarity" with each other.

"Even if we're talking to each other, even though we're in Michigan, we kinda have brought in that feeling of home," Kaahaaina-Torres said.

Kaahaaina-Torres told me it would be "really fun" to play on an offensive line with Afalava at the next level.

"We're really close to each other, we really like to compete against each other," Kaahaaina-Torres said. "I feel like if we ever work together on the same [offensive line] we'd be unstoppable."

Michael France is Sports Illustrated's Michigan State recruiting beat writer, covering all things Big Ten recruiting for Spartan Nation. Be sure to follow him on Twitter/X@michaelfrancesi for exclusive Spartans recruiting coverage.

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Michael France

MICHAEL FRANCE