Thursday, June 13, 2019 72°
Spring Game Primer
Coming off a school record 11 wins, along with a record #11 ranking in the final poll, The Rainbow Warriors have established a winning culture out west in Honolulu. This will be crucial as a few new faces within the program are expected to step and contribute in immediately. In this article, we'll breakdown several important battles that'll be key to the 2023 Warriors run.
This 2023 squad has a chance to improve upon the foundation laid in 2023. Only 5 contributors graduate from last years team (FB, LT, WR3, RDE, K) and 2 of them are replaced with better players than their predecessor at WR, DE and K. Let's take a look at the offensive and defensive units, breaking down some important battles along the way.
Rainbow Warrior Offense
There are no question marks as to who will lead the Warriors offense in 2023, (SR) QB JT Youngblood. The biggest question on this side of the ball is how the weapons around him will shake out. Coming off 2 consecutive 1,000 yard /15+ TD years, 4.5/4.5 (JR) [Power] Chris Fraser has a new lightning to his thunder ready to help. Speedy 5-8 196 (FR) 3/4 Miles Logan enters the picture who will likely take over as the 3rd down back to give JT another option. Logan, a Honolulu native, redshirted last season which allowed him to progress 1.5 skill points. The spring game will be critical for Logan to prove he is ready to contribute. The RB room should be improved with another horse in the stable.
At WR is where things start getting fun for Youngblood this season. 4.5/4.5 [Speed] (JR) Lahahana Mulinu'u and 4/4 [Speed] (SR) Micah Kaufman both return after combining for 1,545/15 in 2022. Losing 3/3 SR Bryce Spencer will hurt but JUCO (SR) 4/4 [Target] Mataio Tupu and (FR) 2.5/4.5 [Speed] Wesley Davis are ready to fill Spencer's shoes. Overall, the WR group is going to allow Youngblood to do his thing and spread the ball around if Tupu and Davis can emerge a quality targets.
OL should again be a strength for the Warriors. SR 4/4 LT Constantine Yeager has graduated but last years RT and now 4/4 Mason Lamb will slide over to the other side to provide a bookend. Moving into his spot will be (FR) 2/4 Levi Nolan. The RG position will go to (SO) 4.5/4.5 Jerraud Weathers with (SO) 3.5/4.5 Kieran Edmondson battling (JR) 4/4 Jackson Worley for duties on the left side of the line. C position will likely go to (FR) 2.5/4.5 Riley McCauley and overtake SR 3/3 Francesco Combs. Losing Yeager's leadership will be tough but McCauley should be a better center and Nolan a chance to shine as a (FR).
Rainbow Warrior Defense
The DL will lose SR 3/3 DE Marcus McCoy-Steward graduating but now has a JUCO replacement incoming with SR DE 4/4 Kiliona Lopamaua who will be crucial in setting the edge if this Rainbow Warriors team wants to take the next level. Next to him will be NT 6-7 320 3/4 SO Odell Wilson. The other DE position is currently a position battle between SR 3.5/3.5 Charles Reid and 2/4 FR Carlos Martinez. It's likely that Reid takes the job with his experience and allows Martinez to get a RS year in. 1/4.5 NT Hikialani Wai will RS to get a year to polish up.
No battles of note in the LB squad, the lineup returns all 4 starters and will be a strength on the team. The incoming FR 1/5 [Mike] Solomon Hamrick and 1/4 [Mike] Luther Edwards will get to RS behind the older guys. The unit will look like the following:
3/3.5 [Blitz] OLB Mohammed Gregory - 4.5/4.5 [Will] ILB Ivan Bentley - 3/4 [Mike] ILB Shawn Mason - 4/4 [Blitz] OLB Leon Hickman
The secondary as doesn't have a ton of new faces to report. (JR) 5/5 CB Brian Bonds will continue to be the staple with (SR) 4/4 Omari Driver-Hannah behind him. One of the coaching staff's favorite recruit of this past cycle FR CB 3/4.5 Terrence Walker will step in as the nickelback with eyes as the CB1 of the future. FR FS 1/5 Abdul McNeil will get a RS year while SR 4/4 Kahoku Alapa plays his final season in Honolulu. SS (JR) 4/4.5 Tristan Cox returns to solidify the Rainbow Warriors backend.