Hawaii Football 2022 Roster Breakdown
Taking a look at the Warriors roster
Hawaii getting ready for the season.
We are a little more than a week away from the 2022 opener which will be the debut of Head Coach Timmy Chang and the beginning of a new era for Hawaii Football. Not only is the head coach new, but this year’s roster consists of 53 first year Warriors. You would think that there are a lot of new faces and not a lot of time to get acquainted with each other, but the ‘Braddahhood’ is real and it is strong. Coach Chang’s slogan and culture that he has brought with him since day 1 has caught on and based on what we’ve seen on “Building the Braddahhood’” the players seem to be buying in. Shout out to the UH media team for putting out these high quality episodes for us to get an inside look at the program.
I’ve watched a couple of practices and my main takeaways were: the energy is high, the music is loud, the coaches bring the juice and the players respond to that. This coaching staff is not afraid to coach these guys hard because unlike some in the previous regime, there seems to be a mutual respect between the players and coaches. Coach Chang takes a hands-on approach. He is involved in the pass game drills helping with the Receivers and Tightends where he has spent a good portion of his coaching career. It seems like the players are genuinely enjoying themselves and their new teammates and the competition level is high because everyone knows with all the roster turnover, playing time is up for grabs. Here is my 2022 roster breakdown. This is based on what has been reported as well as what I saw in the practices I was able to attend this fall.
— Hawaii Football (@HawaiiFootball) August 13, 2022
Coach Chang and offensive coordinator Ian Shoemaker have made it clear that it is an open Quarterback competition. They’ve even mentioned that they may not publicly name a starter, but rather just send their guy out on the first down of the season. They’ve been creative with their practice schedules in camp in order to get guys more reps. It is a four man competition between Brayden Schager, incoming transfers Joey Yellan and Cammon Cooper and former walk-on Jake Farrell. My prediction is that it will come down to the Pittsburgh transfer Joey Yellen and Sophomore Brayden Schager and that Schager will lead the offense out in week zero. Schager was here for spring ball so he has a slight head start on Yellen in terms of familiarity with the offense. He also had a good spring and looked solid in the spring game developing chemistry with the receiving core.
Dedrick Parson is in line to be the lead back in the rotation and it seems like he is about to have a big year. He’s a powerful downhill runner that also has quick feet and catches the ball well out of the backfield and he’ll be running behind a veteran offensive line. He’ll be spelled by junior Nasjzae Bryant-Lelei and Freshman Tylan Hines. Bryant-Lelei has a similar style to Parson and Hines looks like he has the potential to be special. He’s being used out of the backfield as well as in the slot and in the practice that I attended he flashed multiple times. Jordan Johnson made the biggest play of the first scrimmage of camp when he took a hand-off 75 yards to the house.
Whoever takes the snap out of the gun will be throwing to a receiving core made up of guys with different skill sets. Zion Bowens is a speedster and has looked like the number one receiver from spring ball through fall camp, Jonah Panoke is a physical possession guy, Jalen Walthall has great speed and leaping ability, Tamatoa Mokiao-Atimalala showed playmaking ability in the spring game and James Phillips and Dior Scott are quick and shifty slotbacks typical for a Hawaii offense. They say a good receiving core is like a basketball team in the sense that there are players of different sizes that are assigned to different tasks that play to their strengths. This is looking like a pretty diverse unit.
Caleb Phillips is a returning starter from last year’s team, but the player who has really stood out at the position is Missouri State transfer Jordan Murray. He is a long athlete who runs smooth routes and has made some plays down the field throughout camp. He could be the playmaker that Hawaii has been looking for at the tight end position. At 6-5 he should be a threat in the red zone.
This is a veteran unit with players like Ilm Manning, Solo Vaipulu, Micah Vanterpool and Eliki Tanuvasa all returning with plenty of experience. Ilm Manning will be the rare five year starter at left tackle. He has been solid throughout his career using his athleticism to win matchups on the edge. Eliki Tanuvasa will start at center after playing both center and guard last season and Micah Vanterpool started at left guard last season and will keep his role this season. Vanterpool started off as a tackle so he possesses position versatility. Solo Vaipulu is in a battle with Arasi Mose, Stephan Bernal-Wendt and Maurice Ta’ala for the other guard spot.
Ta’ala, like his older brother Blessman, is an absolute unit in the weight room so I’m excited to see him move people around if he’s given the nod. Austin Hopp and Utah transfer Luke Felix-Fualalo are competing for the job at right tackle. It is important for this unit to be a strength for an offense breaking in a new quarterback and many new playmakers. If they can run the ball consistently and control the line of scrimmage, it will make things a lot easier especially early in the season.