The Honolulu Star Advertiser's Stephen Tsai is reporting that Hawaii Warriors that defensive tackle Ka‘aumoana Gifford has been suspended for the entire 2017 season.
Rolovich declined to specify why Gifford has been suspended, offering "violation of team rules" as the only reasoning. He also noted that it is the university that is bringing forth this suspension, and that the violations are not criminal or academic.
This is another off-season in which Hawaii is dealt a big blow to the defensive line as the season nears. Last April, All-MW performer DT Kennedy Tulimasealii was suspended indefinitely, and hasn't returned to the program since. In fact, Gifford was suspended last off-season as well in tandem with the Tulimasealii suspension. This being Gifford's second offense, it should not surprise anyone that he's been given a stiff penalty this time around. That said, the Advertiser does note that Gifford can return to the team in 2018.
Hawaii does return key starters across the defensive line in Penitito Faalologo and Meffy Koloamatangi, and defensive end Jamie Tago should be a beast (although, he too is on thin ice). That said, the defense will retain a 4-3 base under new DC Legi Suiaunoa, meaning depth will be of the utmost importance for a unit that allowed 234.2 rushing yards per game (113th nationally) in 2016.