When Calvin Turner decided to return to the University of Hawaii for an additional year of college football instead of declaring for the NFL Draft, the team’s 2021 season opener against UCLA is the type of game he had in mind.
“Probably the biggest game I’ve ever played in my life,” Turner said. “The most historic team I’ve ever played. Growing up watching UCLA, I know all about them, so this is probably the biggest game of my life so far and I mean, this is what I came back for. This is what I’ve been waiting for my whole life. So I’m very, very excited.”
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Turner will undoubtedly be Hawaii’s go-to player in terms of scoring, as he’s currently listed as the team’s starting running back/wide receiver, kick returner and punt returner. After racking up 1,201 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns in a partial 2020 season, Turner is eager to show what he can do with a full schedule in 2021 with hopes of raising his pro stock.
Also wanting to prove himself further is starting quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, who is making his first start against a Power Five team.
“I feel like the beginning of fall camp. We’re pumped, ready, working hard every day,” Cordeiro said. “This week never changed. Our mindset is still the same.
“These are the type of teams that we want to play. Someone that will get us on the map and UCLA is a good team. It’s going to be a good game. We did our homework, we’re practicing, preparing every day and we’re ready.”
The Rainbow Warriors and Bruins will kick off at 9:30 a.m. HST at the Rose Bowl for a game that will also be televised nationally on ESPN. The ‘Bows will undoubtedly enter as underdogs but relish the challenge ahead.
“At the end of the day, coach speak is well, the field is 53 1/3 yards wide and 100 yards long,” UH head coach Todd Graham said. “We’re not going to have a hard time getting our guys motivated.”