With just five games under his belt, WR Shaun Kauleinamoku has quickly emerged as a go-to target for QB Tommy Grady and the Utah Blaze. Having already turned in two performances in which he recorded double-digit receptions, Kauleinamoku ranks third among Blaze receivers with 48 catches for 671 yards and 15 touchdowns. His instant success can be attributed to his hard work on the field, as well as his past experience playing in Offensive Coordinator Matthew Sauk’s system.
After a standout collegiate career at Western Oregon University, Kauleinamoku entered the Arena Football League in 2010 as a member of the Spokane Shock. In his first season, the shifty wideout hauled in 30 passes for 441 yards and 10 touchdowns while playing under Sauk, who was serving as Spokane’s Offensive Coordinator. Kauleinamoku’s performance helped lead the Shock to ArenaBowl XXIII, where the team captured an AFL championship after defeating the Tampa Bay Storm.
Kauleinamoku returned to Spokane in 2011 and improved on his rookie numbers, posting 52 receptions for 596 yards and 15 scores while helping the Shock to a postseason berth. Entering the 2012 season, Kauleinamoku joined the expansion San Antonio Talons, but was limited to playing in just one game with the organization. He totaled one catch for five yards and added 45 yards on four kickoff returns.
Some simply disregarded him as an afterthought, but Kauleinamoku resurfaced midway through the 2012 season. With a chip on his shoulder, he joined the Blaze and set out on a mission. In his first contest donning Utah’s orange and black, Kauleinamoku faced the Spokane Shock and punished his former team. The rejuvenated receiver hauled in four touchdowns passes as Utah trounced the Shock, 84-63.
Three weeks later, Kauleinamoku lined up against another familiar opponent in the San Antonio Talons. Once again, he made his former employer pay with an explosive performance. Kauleinamoku set a Utah franchise record by racking up 363 all-purpose yards against the Talons. He finished the night snaring nine passes for 159 yards and two scores while collecting 204 yards on seven kickoff returns for an astounding 29.1 yards per attempt average.
Despite the fast start, Kauleinamoku continues to improve. Last week against the Kansas City Command, he came up with 17 receptions for 217 yards and three touchdowns while the Blaze offense set a franchise record with 442 total yards.
With six games left on the regular season schedule, there’s no limit to what Kauleinamoku can accomplish as one of the bright, young stars on the Utah Blaze roster. This week, Inside the Inferno goes behind the scenes with Shaun Kauleinamoku!
ABOUT THE BLAZE
The Utah Blaze (7-5) returns home to Tim Dahle Field at EnergySolutions Arena on Saturday, June 9th to take on the Chicago Rush. Tickets are still available for purchase by calling 1-888-99BLAZE, or online at www.utblaze.com. Follow the Utah Blaze on Facebook (facebook.com/utahblaze) and Twitter (@utblaze) for all the latest news and updates.