More Hawaii Football Players Hit Transfer Portal
A trio are out of of Honolulu.
More trouble in Hawaii
The troublesome offseason continued for the University of Hawaii football program as it saw three more defensive starters enter the transfer portal on Tuesday.
The first to enter his name into the transfer portal on Tuesday and the biggest loss this offseason was the two-time first-team All-Conference linebacker and team captain Darius Muasau. Muasau finished the year with 108 tackles, 7 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and a pick-six. He entered UH as a two-star recruit with his only FBS offer coming from the home team, turned himself into one of the most feared defensive players in the conference, and now will leave as one of the most sought-after defensive transfers in the nation. To be completely honest, my first thoughts of Muasau were that Coach Rolovich was simply trying to sign a local recruit to his 2019 recruiting class, but Muasau quickly changed my mind and became one of my favorite Warriors of all time.
As a true freshman in 2019 he was pushed into a starting role due to injuries and fans got a glimpse of what was to come. In the shortened 2020 COVID season, Muasau led the nation in solo tackles with 66 and had 102 total tackles in just 9 games including an 18 tackle performance against UNLV. 75% of the world is covered by water, and the rest is covered by Darius the Destroyer. It will be interesting to see where he lands as I believe he can be a day one starter for any program. We will miss the passion and enthusiasm that he plays with and we wish him the best as he searches for greener pastures.
Next to enter his name into the portal was Defensive End Jonah Laulu. At 6’6” 280 lbs, it is rare to find a player with his athletic ability and it shows as he has already picked up power 5 offers from Miami, Cal Berkley, Washington, USC and National Semifinalist Georgia. Laulu finished the 2021 season with 33 tackles and 4.5 sacks while missing a few games due to injury. He is just scratching the surface of his potential and whoever lands him will be getting a gifted athlete with a huge upside.
The last to enter his name into the portal on Tuesday was defensive tackle Justus Tavai. He finished the season with 35 tackles, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble. He has been a solid rotational player with a good motor on the defensive line since following his older brother and now Patriots Linebacker Jahlani Tavai to the University of Hawaii. He will certainly add depth and experience to whichever team he ends up on.
You can say that these players are leaving for more exposure, but Hawaii is scheduled to play Michigan next season. NFL stars Darius Leonard (South Carolina State) and Khalil Mack (Buffalo) had breakout games against Clemson and Ohio State respectively and those performances shot them up the draft boards. I’m sure they’re not the only ones who have capitalized on their opportunities but those are just two in recent memory that stick out. Muasau is already a well known commodity and a big performance against the Wolverines would have surely shown that he can play with the big boys.
So far this offseason the Bows have lost their starting quarterback and team captain Chevan Cordeiro (SJSU), starting running back Dae Dae Hunter (Liberty), leading receiver Nick Mardner (has an offer from Virginia Tech), starting cornerback Cameron Lockeridge (South Alabama), leading tackler and another team captain Darius Muasau (should have multiple Power 5 offers), and starting defensive end Jonah Laulu (Offers from Washington, Cal, Miami, USC and Georgia). It’s not like the Bows are losing players because they aren’t getting playing time. Players are clearly disgruntled with Todd Graham and a few members of his coaching staff and are willing to leave behind starting positions for other opportunities.
In a statement released by the University, Todd Graham spoke about the transfer portal being a challenge and that many programs across the country are facing the same challenges with the transfer portal. In his defense, there are programs within the conference such as Wyoming and Nevada who have lost impact players to the transfer portal, but Nevada lost their head coach to Colorado State and Wyoming…well Wyoming is in Wyoming (sorry Cowboy fans I’m sure Laramie is beautiful in its own way but Hawaii is literally paradise). Graham also said, “we are continuing to listen, learn and improve daily” and that “we are working tirelessly to build a championship team”. Well sir, please speed up that process because the fanbase is getting restless and worried and for good reason.
The Warriors have now lost key members of a core group of underclassmen that were contributors during the 2019 run to the Mountain West Championship game. The coaching staff has their work cut out for them in replacing this many impact players over an offseason. Look for the Bows to hit the transfer portal and JC recruits hard because they need players that can come in and play right away. Things can’t get much worse so here’s to looking forward to better days. As always, Let’s go Bows!