When it comes to predicting which college football players will produce more than others, essentially it’s a guessing game. You’re dealing mostly with teenagers and non-adult men who are still figuring out life. Still, there are certain aspects of a football player’s character, physical ability and prior success that offer a look into who will be the best.
The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors entered last season with an all new coaching staff and system. The season did not go well and an eight game losing streak (second longest in school history) made for a dismal year with an overall record of 3-9. However, there was a glimpse of good news near the end of the year. They played a hard fought – and cold – game at Air Force before losing and then proceeded to win convincingly their last two contests on the 2012 schedule.
The Warriors best player in 2012, Mike Edwards, decided to turn pro and he will be sorely missed. Yet, the team brings back almost every other player, which should make the 2013 season better last year.
So, who are the players that will lead the ‘Bows football squad this coming year? This list is alphabetical.
Source: University of Hawaii
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The likely starting quarterback has never suited up for a Hawaii game, yet may end up being the best player on the team in 2013. The big 6’5” 235 pound junior has showed patience (source: Stack) after sitting out last year after transferring from the Ohio State Buckeyes. Graham was once a blue-chip type recruit but there is one glaring flaw on his resume. He’s never played an entire football season in high school or college. Injuries hampered his junior and senior years in high school and then Taylor sat on the bench while with the Buckeyes. However, he has looked good in practices including this past spring and should be one of the key leaders on the team this season.
One of the most versatile players – maybe in the country – he’s a throwback to when a football player had to do multiple jobs. The 5’11” 195 pound junior has been the team’s punter, punt returner and receiver. Harding excels at the latter two and the former Australian Rules Football player will be counted on to continue his success as a punt returner as well as an excellent receiver after the catch. It should also be noted that this son of a football coach is a very bright individual who earned All-Academic honors from the Mountain West Conference.
He will take over from Edwards in 2013 as the leader of the defensive backs. An all-around excellent player capable of playing any position in the defensive backfield, the 5’11” 180 pound senior has been a starter with the Warriors since he was a freshman. Hardy-Tuliau will likely play safety this coming season and although he’s not the biggest guy on the field, he’s a smart player who’s proficient enough to be a play-maker even on defense.
A senior, the 6’0” 235 pound linebacker has been a main cog in the Hawaii defense for the last couple years. Laurel is one of those players who just makes plays and does what’s needed. He can get a sack when needed, makes tackles all over the field, plus Art’s combination of strength and quickness makes him tough to block – he’s played on the defensive line too. Consistent and versatile, Laurel may well be the leader of a defense that could be a surprise in 2013.
Billy Ray Stutzmann
The senior has started since his freshman year and has been a steady and reliable player at wide receiver. Stutzmann is 6’0” 185 pounds and led the team in receptions and yardage in 2012. He’s quick and fast with dependable hands and as possibly the only senior starter on offense, he will be looked upon for leadership. Billy Ray isn’t a big talker but does lead by his exemplary play and with the Hawaii offense opening up in 2013, Stutzmann could make a lot of plays and have a big year.