The University of Hawaii football team announced its three captains for the upcoming 2021 football season. Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, linebacker Darius Muasau, and defensive back Khoury Bethley will serve as the core of the team’s leadership group. Head coach Todd Graham said on Tuesday that the captains are picked by the players. He and the coaches had no votes.
“We had three consensus captains who just about everybody on our team voted for: Chevan, Darius, and Khoury. I just let the players, it’s their team. I don’t have a vote. The coaches don’t have a vote. I was just really impressed by how thoughtful they were, because usually, it’s just the best players get all the votes. That wasn’t it. The guys they voted for were the disciplined guys, were the guys that come out every day and demonstrate that,” Graham told reporters after Tuesday’s practice.
Mililani product Darius Muasau was already undoubtedly the leader of the ‘Bows ‘War Dog’ defense, but the ‘C’ elevates his status even more. He was simply all over the field last season. The junior ranked fifth nationally in tackles per game (11.8) while also leading the team in in team in tackles for loss (9.5), sacks (4.5), and quarterback hurries (7). He was one of just two UH players in the last nine seasons to hit the century mark in season tackles (104) and he amazingly did it during an abbreviated nine-game season.
“It means a lot to me. I take a lot of pride in that, being able to be selected captain by my own peers, my own teammates. Just to earn their respect and their trust from my teammates really means a lot to me,” Muasau says. “I know I won’t be complacent with that. I know I have to earn their respect every day, so I know I still have to work. The captain is just a name for me just to represent my team, but I’m still going to come out 100 percent every day.”
The scary prospect for UH opponents is that he’s just getting started. “We’re expecting an even bigger year from him,” UH linebackers coach Jacob Yoro said. “He had a great offseason. He put on really good lean body weight. He’s explosive, he’s faster, he has a better understanding of what we’re doing defensively. As long as he continues to do the things that have gotten him to this point so far, the sky’s the limit on what he can do.”
The maestro of Hawaii’s offense will once again be Chevan Cordeiro. Entering his fourth year in the program, Cordeiro is firmly entrenched as QB1 for the Rainbow Warriors. The 2020 season marked his first as a full-time starter and he showed his worth, taking nearly every single snap during the year.
Cordeiro is as much a threat with his legs than his arm. Last year, he was the first quarterback to lead UH in rushing since Michael Carter in 1991 with 483 yards. He ranked second in the Mountain West in rushing touchdowns (7) and had three of the longest runs from scrimmage for UH, including a pair of 54-yard dashes at Fresno State and against UNLV in the regular season finale.
“Chevan is very versatile,” offensive coordinator Bo Graham says. “He can beat you in a lot different ways and we’re building an offense that’s friendly to his skill set.”
The 2021 season is Khoury Bethley‘s second as a captain. No one can question Bethley’s productivity, who has accumulated 193 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 13 passes defended in 38 career games. What’s also undeniable is his leadership. He was chosen as the player to “break the rock” at the conclusion of summer workouts.
“I think it’s just a huge testimony to my work ethic. Coming into this offseason, that was one of my goals — to be a better leader on and off the field. Set the tone in workout and lifts and practices, but it’s definitely great knowing that my teammates have my back and I got theirs. Just going to be ready to roll and set the tone against UCLA.” Bethley said.
“He’s a guy who’s really stepped up as a leader, not just in the secondary but for the entire defense,” associate head coach Trent Figg says.
The Rainbow Warriors open their season on national TV against UCLA. Kickoff is set for 9:30 a.m. HST.