Who will stand out under Timmy Chang?
Whose next for Hawaii?
Without looking back too far and reopening old wounds, the truth is that the Warriors lost a lot of talent to the transfer portal after the 2021 season. If we consider this glass half full, it means there are plenty of opportunities for new faces to step into big roles for the Bows. Here are some players to watch out for.
Zion Bowens WR
Zion Bowens has displayed lightning throughout his two seasons as a warrior. No better example than the 2021 home finals against Colorado State, where he had 6 catches for 172 yards, including a 93-yard touchdown. This season, Bowens has a chance to be number one in the air. He’s got the physical tools and it looks like he and Brayden Schager developed some pretty good chemistry during the bouncing ball.
Dedrick Parsons RB
Calling Dedrick Parsons a breakout player is a bit of a stretch. Last season he rushed for 618 yards and 8 touchdowns while receiving an additional 279 yards. It’s safe to say that we’ve already seen what he can do when given the opportunity.
Now that he’s stepping into the full-time starting role, I think the best is yet to come. He’s a physically strong runner and he performed really well in the spring game. He should break the 1,000-yard mark in all-purpose yards this season.
Jonah Kahahawai-Welch, Wynden Ho’ohuli, and Mataio Soli Edge
It’s been a while since Hawaii had a dominant edge-rusher, but this season the Warriors have three exciting prospects. Jonah Kahahawai-Welch was one of the top recruits in the 2018 class and so far his career has been riddled with injuries. He missed most of the 2020 and 2021 seasons through injury, but this spring he has emerged as a leader on defense. He played with the first team during the spring game and flashed from the rim a couple of times with some dominant wins.
If he stays healthy I think he’s due for a big year. Wynden Ho’ohuli is a former 4-star Mililani High School recruit and his homecoming from Nebraska is surrounded by much hype. He enrolled in January and was able to attend the spring ball, so he should start fall camp. Mataio Soli is another former 4-star star who came to the islands through the transfer portal. Soli appeared in 17 games, including 11 starts, in his freshman season at Arkansas. His playing time has dwindled over the past two seasons due to injuries and solid depth, but he will get a fresh start with the Warriors and should arrive on campus this summer.
Isaiah Tufaga and Demarii Blanks linebackers
The Bows need to find a way to replace Darius Muasau’s production. This type of player is difficult to replace, but the Warriors have depth at the linebacker position. Penei Pavihi is a returning starter at one linebacker position, and Isaiah Tufaga and Demarii Blanks appear to be the guys lined up at the other LB position. Since moving from Oregon State, Tufaga has been a solid rotation player for the Bows.
He’s a guy who always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He has started 4 games during his time as a warrior and has shown that he is reliable. Demarii Blanks joins Hawaii from the College of San Mateo, where he was named Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He took part in the Spring Ball and will probably be there next season.