Hawaii Rainbow Warriors’ Top 10 Returning Players in 2024 Include Brayden Schager, Steven McBride

    Hawaii looks to bounce back after a rough 2023 campaign, but who are the top 10 returning players for the Rainbow Warriors in 2024?

    When the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors brought back its all-time leader in passing yards, Timmy Chang (17,072 yards, 2000-2004), to be the head football coach in 2022, the success of yesteryear was envisioned by those around the program. That hasn’t materialized yet for Chang, who is 8-18 in his first two seasons, coming off a 5-8 campaign in 2023.

    It’s been a slow start on the reboot for Chang and the Rainbow Warriors, but he’ll have plenty of returning experienced players in his system who could jumpstart Hawaii football in 2024.

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    Hawaii Rainbow Warriors’ Top 10 Returners in 2024

    10) Ka’ena Decambra, OL

    Now a junior, Ka’ena Decambra was a walk-on, scout team player his first two seasons with Hawaii. Despite not playing much, he was put on scholarship ahead of his sophomore season in Dec. 2022. The 6’3″, 300-pounder from O’ahu then started 11 games in 2024.

    With starting left tackle Josh Atkins transferring to the Arizona State Sun Devils and no other OL coming in the portal so far, DeCambra is a much-needed returner and has proven he can handle a full season in the trenches.

    9) Tylan Hines, RB

    Tylan Hines burst onto the scene as a true freshman in 2022 as the team’s second-leading rusher with 632 yards on 83 carries, finishing second among all freshmen nationally in yards per carry (7.6) and earning an All-Mountain West Honorable Mention.

    He came into the 2023 campaign as one of the team captains but took a medical redshirt four games into the season after an ankle injury, which held him out the rest of the way. Hines is back for the 2024 season and looking to beef up a rushing offense that only gained 989 total team rushing yards last season.

    8) Luke Felix-Fualalo, OL

    Listed at 6’8″and 310 pounds from Brisbane, Australia, Luke Felix-Fualalo is a big returner for the Warriors in a literal and figurative manner. He played sparingly his first three seasons at Utah (2019-2021) and was used primarily on special teams his first season at Hawaii in 2022 before starting 11 of 13 games last season.

    He’ll be a sixth-year senior with Power Five experience and familiarity with a fast-paced offense that can be tough on offensive linemen. He’s one of three returners who started 11 or more games on the offensive line.

    7) Sergio Muasau, OL

    Sergio Muasau started all 13 games for Hawaii last season, one of two offensive linemen to do so. The other, Atkins, is transferring, making Muasau the elder statesman on the line of scrimmage for the Rainbow Warriors.

    A two-year starter with seven starts in 2022, this year will be his fifth season with Hawaii. That senior leadership and experience will be crucial for an offensive line unit that desperately needs it.

    6) Jalen Smith, LB

    After taking a redshirt his first season in Hawaii in 2022, Jalen Smith played in all 13 games last season, finishing with 67 tackles and a team-leading nine tackles for a loss. He had eight stops and a forced fumble in the Rainbow Warriors’ upset win over Air Force, 27-13.

    In the Warriors’ 4-2-5 defensive scheme, the linebackers play an important role in the middle of the defense. Returning experienced players like Smith to man that area will go a long way in getting Hawaii its first winning season since 2019.

    5) Pofele Ashlock, WR

    Pofele Ashlock’s redshirt freshman campaign finished with him as the team’s leader in receptions (83), tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns (nine) and second in yards (832). He had a career-high 12 catches and two touchdowns in the win over Air Force, one of three games where he had two touchdowns.

    MORE: 2024 Mountain West Transfer Portal Rankings

    Chang’s run-and-shoot offense needs possession receivers like Ashlock who can make boundary receptions that set up deep balls. Getting another All-Mountain West Honorable Mention back will play a significant role in this offense.

    4) Peter Manuma, S

    A consecutive All-Mountain West honorable mention, including as a true freshman in 2022, Peter Manuma returns primed for a big junior season. He led the Rainbow Warriors in tackles (87) and interceptions (three) last season.

    Manuma was one of the leaders of a feisty defensive backfield for Hawaii, ranking third in the Mountain West for passing yards allowed (214.4 per game). His return could be a big catalyst for the success of this defense.

    3) Cam Stone, DB

    An All-Mountain West honorable mention the last three seasons — 2021-2022 with Wyoming, 2023 at Hawaii — Cam Stone enters his senior season with five years of experience in the conference. He led the team in pass breakups last year (seven) while also returning 16 kicks for 331 yards.

    Stone didn’t run one back last season, but he had a 99-yard kickoff return in 2021. He’s dangerous on two phases of the game, which will be needed for Hawaii next season.

    2) Steven McBride, WR

    An All-Mountain West Second Team selection last year, Steven McBride led the Rainbow Warriors in receiving yards (1,024), tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns (nine), and was second in receptions with 63. McBride, who spent his first three seasons at Kansas, averaged 16.3 yards per catch last season.

    McBride and fellow returning receiver Ashlock proved to be a dynamic duo for this offense last season, with both players’ production being significantly higher than anticipated. Both returning will be huge, but especially having McBride to take the top off of defenses.

    1) Brayden Schager, QB

    Continuity under center can’t be overstated, and Chang undoubtedly feels fortunate to be experiencing that in 2024. Brayden Schager initially entered the transfer portal at the beginning of December, ahead of his senior season, but withdrew his name just before Christmas.

    MORE: 2024 Mountain West Power Rankings

    The All-Mountain West Honorable Mention in 2023 is returning for his fourth season with the Rainbow Warriors, passing for 3,542 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions while starting every game last season. In 26 starts since 2021, he’s thrown for 6,505 yards, the fifth-most yards in Hawaii program history.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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