The University of Hawaii football team concluded Mountain West Conference media days in Las Vegas on Thursday. After head coach Todd Graham made the rounds on Wednesday, the second and final day was reserved for Hawaii’s two player representatives: Calvin Turner and Cortez Davis.
Turner and Davis, both seniors, were each named to the All-Mountain West Conference preseason first team on Thursday morning. Turner was voted preseason first-team punter, while Davis, a cornerback, was named a preseason first-team defensive back along with Boise State’s Kekaula Kaniho. The only other player UH placed on the preseason All-MWC first team was Mililani alum Darius Muasau at linebacker.
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KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello was in Las Vegas for media days on both Wednesday and Thursday and touched on a variety of topics. Despite the individual success of both Turner and Davis as players, both were disappointed to find that the Rainbow Warriors, coming off the heels of a bowl victory, were picked to finish second to last in the West division in the preseason polls.
“We already knew that we weren’t going to be picked very high at the beginning, so it doesn’t really matter to us,” Turner said. “At the end of the day, we have to play football. I’m glad that it’s not based on where you were picked in preseason because we have to go out there and play football every game and every week. We aren’t really worried about that but it does add some fuel to the fire. We’re worried about winning championships more than anything else.”
On top of both being preseason all-conference picks, both Turner and Davis happen to hail from Georgia.
“That’s crazy because Cortez is actually the first person I ever met out here,” Turner says. “When I came in my visit he was my host, so Cortez is the first person I ever met (in Hawaii). I believe the southern hospitality is something that the people of Hawaii have where they bring you in like family. That’s something that is very similar — the hospitality.”
“I feel at home in Hawaii. I feel at home in Georgia,” Davis added. “My family in Georgia wants to come to Hawaii and experience it and some the guys in Hawaii want to come to Georgia to experience it. I think the cultures are very similar. The people are very loving. There is great food in both places. I just think there is something special about Hawaii and they offer something different than the rest of the country.
“I represent a whole entire community of people who have a great culture and spirit about them and great love, so I take it serious when I step on the field and rep Hawaii.”
When Graham, Turner and Davis fly back to Honolulu to rejoin the team, fall camp will be right around the corner. After opening fall camp on July 30, the Rainbow Warriors will open their 2021 campaign on Aug. 28 at UCLA. A week later, UH will host its first-ever on-campus football game when it takes on Portland State at Clarence T.C. Ching Stadium.
“We’re out there on the rock by ourselves so we just stick together with our fans, and all the people of Hawaii and the state of Hawaii,” Turner said. “We just build that brand together. It is an “us vs. them” mentality. We have to go out and prove everyone wrong every week. That’s something we have done in the past and we want to continue to do that and continue to do so for years to come.”
But before heading back to the islands, the players made sure to enjoy some of what Vegas has to offer.