For University of Hawaii senior wide receiver Melquise Stovall, there’s no shortage of motivation each time that he runs out of the tunnel with the Rainbow Warriors.
Just a season ago, Stovall was dismissed from the UH Football team by then head coach Nick Rolovich despite having recorded 248 yards on 18 receptions and four scores, including two touchdowns in his final game.
That final game was against Air Force, where he scored two touchdowns in the first half but did not play after halftime following a personal foul penalty in the second quarter. The Monday after that game was played, Rolovich announced that the Lancaster, California native was no longer on the team.
“There are certain expectations required of a football student-athlete here at the University of Hawaii,” Rolovich said at the time. “We hold all our student-athletes to these standards and expect them to represent our football program to the highest degree. We wish Melquise the best as he moves forward.”
Following the dismissal, Stovall remained in Hawaii and after Rolovich left for Washington State and head coach Todd Graham was hired to lead the Rainbow Warriors, Stovall asked for and was granted an opportunity to regain his spot on the team after keeping up with school work throughout the semesters that followed.
“I think my family really pushed me. I have a family back home that is depending on me. So, just waking up everyday thinking about them and all the wrong that I’ve done to them, try to better myself every day. Just by doing the little things like going to class, doing my homework, being a better person out in public. Saying hello to people that I don’t know, just being more interactive. I think that was the biggest thing,” said Stovall.
In six games this season, the former consensus four-star prospect out of Paraclete High School who spent two years at the University of California and one season at Riverside City College prior to UH, has recorded 328 all-purpose yards as a receiver, ball-carrier, and kick returner.
“When something is taken away that you love, it’s hard to come to grip and come to terms that it’s taken away,” said, Stovall. “When it was taken away, I did a lot of reflecting trying to see what I could do better. Things that I can improve on. Coach (Todd Graham) and Coach Bo (Graham) gave me the opportunity to prove myself and get back on the team. I think I have been doing that so far, there are still things that I need to work on but anytime something is taken away from you, you got to sit back and really figure out what you did wrong and I feel like I’m on the right path to becoming a better player and person.”
According to Stovall, having gone through the learning lessons that he has, every game is an un-promised privilege to do something that he loves.
“It’s always great to go through adversity. It kind of shows you when you’re on your high slope there’s always a chance to come down. I just try to praise every moment that you’re up there,” added Stovall. “I’m very humbled and thankful that I went through that experience and I’m just thankful that Coach Graham and Coach Bo has given me the opportunity to come back and work.”
Stovall and the Rainbow Warriors will return to the field this Saturday at Aloha Stadium against undefeated San Jose State. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00pm.