clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Hawaii Fall Camp: Previewing the Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

With only one of the top six receivers from 2013 returning this fall, there are a lot of questions surrounding WR Coach Luke Matthews unit this season

Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports


Scott Harding, Senior (5-11, 200)

Originally from Brisbane, Austrailia, Harding's athletic career began as a member of the Austrailian Rules Football national team at 15, before representing the state of Queensland State team the remainder of his amateur career. In 2005, he would be drafted by the Brisbane Lions 66th overall in AFL Rookie Draft, spending the first four years of his professional career there before being cut by the Lions in 2009. He would later be picked up by the Port Adelaide Power, playing just two games before being cut in 2010.

One year later, Hawaii would offer Harding an athletic scholarship and he would join the Warriors as a punt returner and slot receiver in 2011, finishing his first year in Honolulu as a member of the FWAA's Freshman All-America First Team at Punt Returner. His Sophomore year saw Harding move to Z-receiver, catching 20 passes for 321 yards while averaging a team best 16.0 yards a catch. He also saw his first D1 action at Punter, starting the first three games of the season. Last season, he saw the most action of his career at Punter, Slot Receiver, and Punt Returner, appearing in all 12 games and finishing second in receiving yards again with 631 yards. His rugby-styled kicking averaged 40.2 yards per punt which ranked eighth in the conference, including seven punts over 50 yards, four over 60, and 18 pinned inside the 20-yard line.

Harding is the most experienced receiver returning this fall, and with the recent injuries to Vasquez Haynes and Devan Stubblefield, he should see more balls thrown his way this season.

Keelan Ewaliko, Freshman (5-11, 175)

An in-state target, Ewaliko was among the top 15 players of the state going into his Senior year at Baldwin High School in Maui. He lead the Bears to three straight Maui Interscholastic League titles at Quarterback, throwing for 2,500-plus yards and rushing for 1,800-plus yards in his career, and never lost a MIL conference game as a starter (22-0).

After redshirting 2013, Ewaliko worked with the defense this spring, taking reps with the 1s at Nickelback. However, all the recent setbacks at WR moved him over to slot receiver Week 1 of fall camp, and he's already been running with the first string.

Harding is the far ahead starter at Slot for the Warriors offense, but Ewaliko could be an viable backup option if Harding moves to a different position or is injured.


Quinton Pedroza, Junior (6-2, 220)

In one year of High School football, Pedroza played receiver, safety, and return specialist as he helped Chino High to an 11-1 record and the 2010 league title. He set single-season records in receptions (54), receiving yards (1,078), and receiving touchdowns (16), and also racked up 67 tackles and picked off four passes as well.

He would commit to Utah after high school as a four-star prospect, but he didn't see much action in his time in Salt Lake City, transferring to Hawaii after two season as a back-up for the Utes.

Pedroza originally rotated in at Slotback, a position occupied by Scott Harding, but has been recently working as the number one Z-receiver after Keith Kirkwood's departure to Temple. He's lost about 20 pounds over the offseason and seems to be quicker, and speed is something Hawaii desperately needs at Wide Receiver. Quinton Pedroza could be the diamond in the rough that is Hawaii's Wide Receivers in 2014.

Ammon Barker, Freshman (6-4, 200)

A three-star wideout from Utah, Barker was originally committed to play for Jim Mora and the UCLA Bruins before flipping to Hawaii just a week before signing day in January 2013. During his high school career, he would tally nearly 2,000 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns as a three-year varsity starter for Alta High School in Salt Lake City.

Although Barker has yet to play a down at Hawaii, he's a tall, speedy option at WR if the group got thinner between now and kickoff.


Marcus Kemp, Sophomore (6-4, 185)

A two-star prospect from Layton High School in Utah, Kemp was a three-sport star for the Lancers, but found most of his success on the football field. He starred at Wide Receiver and Safety in his career, racking up over 1,000 career yards and 10 touchdowns, and 65 total tackles and two interceptions on the other side of the ball.

He was behind leading receiver Chris Gant on the depth chart last fall, but Kemp still saw action in 11 games in 2013, pulling in 10 catches for 110 yards as a Freshman. He should be the favorite to start at X with the departure of Gant and a solid spring showing, where he pulled in two catches for 47 yards in the annual Warrior Bowl this April.

Kemp should be a the #2, #3 target for whoever the starting quarterback is this year, he's got one year of D1 football under his belt, and is one of the tallest receivers on the roster. Don't be surprised if Kemp is targeting often in this thinning WR group this season.

Donnie King Jr., Senior (5-7, 155)

A native Hawaiian, King lettered at Kapolei High School for two years as a Slot Receiver, Defensive Back, and return specialist for the Hurricanes, and was named the Team Offensive MVP for his Senior year.

After seeing little to no playing time his first two years at Hawaii, King had a solid Junior season behind Scott Harding at slot, with 11 receptions for 118 yards and a score.

The injuries to Vasquez Haynes and Devan Stubblefield move King up the depth chart this fall, so I expect King will rotate in at X behind Kemp in 2014.

Tight Ends

Harold Moleni, Junior (6-2, 245)

Moleni left Hunter High School in West Valley City, Utah as the school's all-time reception leader, starting every game for his last three years of his high school career. He had signed his letter of intent to play at Utah State in 2008, but he chose to take a church mission to Spokane, Washington for two years.

After his mission ended it 2011, he moved on to Hawaii and was the back-up to Clark Evans, who left Honolulu just two receptions shy of holding the single-season record for receptions by a Tight End. Moleni has pulled in 8 receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns in his two seasons with the Warriors.

Moleni worked this spring with the 1's at Tight End, and should be in a good position to start against Washington. While he's not as big as back-up Jordan Pu'u Robinson, his speed gives him the advantage over the former Washington State transfer.

Jordan Pu'u-Robinson, Senior (6-4, 255)

Pu'u Robinson worked his way around the depth chart during his High School career at both Kamehameha and Baldwin High School, starting at Quarterback, Tight End, and Defensive End in his three years of Varsity football. He won all-state honors Junior and Senior year, and took home All-MIL honors in 2008.

He would commit to Washington State in 2009 as a Defensive End, but wouldn't see much playing time in his first two years in Pullman, redshirting his Freshman year, then suffering a season-ending knee injury the next. Finally, Pu'u-Robinson hit the field in 2011, making nine tackles and recovering a fumble. He would transfer to Hawaii in 2012, making his Warriors debut in 2013 with two catches for 19 yards.

The Verdict

Harding should be far and away the number one receiver target for whoever will be under center this year, he has the size and speed that makes him a threat at Slotback. A wildcard that could be a huge breakout player for the Warriors is Quinton Pedroza. The former Utah WR has the size and athletic ability to be a #2, or even #1 receiver this year, so fans are hoping he makes a big splash in his Hawaii debut against Washington. This WR group is definitely thin, but there is always room for improvement, and plenty of young Freshman and Sophomores who could step up and make an impact on the Warriors passing attack.