With a new head coach and new offense to boot, it might be harder to tell who will fit in and become valuable as the season goes on. But heading into the fall of 2012, four players jump out as key to the offense and team. Why four when I said seven? One isn't named and the other two are returners, which you may or may not normally consider an offensive position, but they have to be counted somewhere and both are significant contributors … as is our mystery person. Here they are (listed alphabetically).
Mike Edwards - He will be returning kicks and man, what a return man he is. The 5'10" 180 pound fourth-year junior already has been All-WAC as a kick-return specialist, averaging 25 yards a return. Also All-WAC as a cornerback last season (source - Phil Steele), Edwards may end up being the most valuable player on the team, period.
Scott Harding - I bet you didn't know this Aussie was top 40 in the nation for punt returns. That garnered the 5'11" 195 pound sophomore Freshman All-American honors. Maybe not surprisingly, you will also see Harding possibly the starter at wide receiver.
Joey Iosefa - As a redshirt freshman, he was the starting running back. The 6' 240 pound sophomore will likely play fullback in the new pro-set scheme, though his athletic ability should have him playing all over the field.
David Lefotu - Returning starter from last year, the redshirt sophomore will be a key in holding together the offensive line. The athletic 6'3 305 pounder should be a mainstay in the Hawaii offensive line for the next three years.
Jeremiah Ostrowski - The 5'9" 175 pound fifth-year senior can and will play a variety of receiver positions. He's a leader on the team and his ability to get open will be vital. By the way, Miah is also a starter on the Warriors basketball team.
Billy Ray Stutzman - All-WAC and possibly the Warriors best offensive player last season, the fourth-year junior may very well be the most important person on offense. The 6' 175 pound receiver has an aptitude for consistently catching big passes.
The unknown and likely 2012's most valuable player? - Whoever ends up being the starting quarterback. Fall practice will decide for sure but it looks like veteran fourth-year junior David Graves has a slight edge. Redshirt freshman Ikaika Woolsey probably has the most upside but needs more snaps. Jeremy Higgins is the very capable sophomore transfer from Utah State and had some excellent practices this past spring.
A quarterback handles the ball more than any other offensive skill player. With a new offense, no one had an advantage with the system but my guess is since Woolsey came from a pro-set before he was at Hawaii and has the best skill set of all the quarterbacks, sooner or later, he will end up being the starter.
Sources - University of Hawaii
Through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of Hawaii since visiting there 40 years ago and dozens of times since. Go 'Bows!