Welcome to the fifth post in our twelve-part series that hopefully makes the dead period go by a bit quicker. These articles aim to provide a detailed look at what each team has done thus far on the recruiting trail and what work still needs to be put in before NLI day in February. One team a day will be featured this year in alphabetical order. Today will look at Hawaii.
The 2020 season had its bumps and bruises for pretty much everyone, and Hawaii was no exception. They were the most up and down team in the conference this season and as unpredictable as ever. There drop off from last year was not that large, which is important. Hawaii finished .500 for the year and once again is bowl bound.
With eligibility rules being adjusted for Covid, it’s a bit difficult to know which players are staying or leaving. That makes it a bit harder to understand what specific needs are in the class. That being said, this class needed to shore up the depth in almost every area after the program experienced a high amount of attrition following the coaching change. To see how they’ve done so far, look below.
The Road So Far:
The Rainbow Warriors recruiting efforts appeared to take a back seat this year, at least when compared to past seasons. They didn’t collect large commitment numbers and even less ended up signing. With that being said, they still managed to sign seven players last week, including four high school players and three college transfers.
Their offense features two lone signees, high school running back Jordan Johnson and the transfer from Georgia, tight end Kolby Wyatt. Johnson is a talented running back who could be used in a Calvin Turn type of role with his versatility. Meanwhile, Wyatt brings a fair amount of talent and great size for a pro-style offense if that’s how they want to use him.
Turning over to the defense, where the majority of the signees came, the Rainbow Warriors primarily added to their linebacker depth. In-state recruit Sonny Semeatu is undersized, but he is a good bet to play higher than his ranking. Solomon Turner is a transfer from Baylor and should be able to step into a starting role as soon as he can see the field. Rounding out the unit is signee Josh Bertholotte, who is their highest-ranked commit. He gives them a piece to build with on future defenses. Also on defense are defensive end Tariq Jones and defensive back Colby Burton, another college transfer. Both add depth to the defense, both immediate and in the future.
Number who signed in December: 7
Number who will enroll early: 3
247 Composite: 126
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: QB, WR, OL, DT, DB
First of all, Hawaii needs to do their best to sign their committed recruits who did not sign, assuming they are still committed. They are a few talented players who would give this class a boost if they signed on with the program. Otherwise, they need to turn all of their efforts into recruiting. They still have a lot of work left to do.
It’s hard to know precisely where Hawaii should go from there but securing a quarterback is a reasonable next step. With Cordero at the helm, they won’t need an immediate starter in this class, but they need depth. Speaking of depth, boosting number and talent at wide receiver and the offensive line is a need. They have lost a lot at WR over the past year and will do the same on the o-line soon enough, so planning ahead of time is vital for the Rainbow Warriors. Looking at the defense, they are set at linebacker, but nowhere else. Building up the secondary with some high school talent would go a long way towards stabilizing the defense going forward. Likewise, they were horrid against the run this year, and adding some size to the interior of the line, both in immediate help and down the road, would help an area of need.
The Rainbow Warriors still have quite a ways to go in their 2021 recruiting class. The transfers will add depth sooner rather than later, but they will need to put more effort into high school recruiting. Ultimately, the finished product in February will determine how good this class is, but Hawaii will have to do a lot between now and then in order to get out of the bottom of the conference rankings.
Previous posts: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State
Coming tomorrow: Nevada