“It taught me that we have to work hard all the way through,” Kobayashi said. “Even though we made it to the end, it may not come out the way we want it to.”
This is not the only realization Kobayashi came to after reflecting on the season. He conceded that he relied too heavily on deep passes during his junior year. His opponents knew what to expect from Kobayashi the next year, forcing him to adjust.
“They knew I wanted the deep bombs,” Kobayashi said. “I actually had to [change] it around to try to get some shorter passes in.”
Going forward, he can improve this aspect of his game by learning from Washington Redskins wide receiver, DeSean Jackson, a player Kobayashi tries to model his game after. Jackson is notorious for being a threat deep down the field, but also runs shorter routes to keep opposing cornerback’s guessing.
“I always have a hard time with underneath routes and getting off some of the press,” Kobayashi said. “But I’ve been getting better this past season.”
Kobayashi believes this adjustment will enhance his performance when coupled with his speed and height, two characteristics that coaches like about him.
When asked about his favorite thing about being a wide receiver, Kobayashi jokingly said it was not getting hit. He went on to say he loves catching the ball on the outside, and then weaving his way back through the middle of the field. Additionally, he likes being able to catch, run, and to make blocks.
“It’s like every position put into one,” Kobayashi said.
This fall, Kobayashi will be traveling across the Pacific Ocean to play at the University of California, Berkeley, where he felt most comfortable compared to Washington and Washington State, two of his other offers.
“When I went to Cal, I felt like I was at home,” Kobayashi said. “It felt like a place I was going to be for the next four years.”
A part of this comfort can be attributed to the coaching staff, who made Kobayashi feel like a part of the California football family. The coaching staff reaches out to him on a weekly basis to check up on how he is doing.
But transitioning from a small city on the big island of Hawaii to a Division I football program will take some time.
“It’s a big transition,” Kobayashi said. “Over here it’s more of a town. But when you go out there, you’re playing in front of a lot more people.”
Although this will be a big transition for Kobayashi, he uses his home as motivation.
“It’s motivation to keep pushing myself and try to getting better,” Kobayashi said. “Not many people come out of [Hawaii] and get the opportunity to play Division I football for a scholarship.”
Even though Kobayashi’s dream is to play in the NFL, he really wants to use his athletic talents for a good reason and focus on his academics. He wants to major in business and is considering becoming an accountant.
Along with his academics, Kobayashi is looking forward to living in dorms and also living without his parents, one big thing he’s been stressing about lately.
Ultimately, Kobayashi is ready for college, saying it’s an opportune time for him to be joining California’s football team. With many players leaving the program after last year, Kobayashi thinks he will be able to fill their place right away in a starting role.
Kobayashi is content with his final decision, and his ready to make an immediate impact on a school that he loves.
“There’s no other school like it in the nation, “ Kobayashi said. “You can’t get any better than that.”
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