HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There will be a new starting quarterback for the Rainbow Warrior football team next season. The only question is who that player will be?
After Dru Brown announced his release from the team to play closer to home in Northern California, the depth at the position took a hit. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday morning that quarterback Cole Brownholtz also left Manoa to play for FCS school, Incarnate Word.
Without Brown and Brownholtz, the only quarterbacks left on the roster are Cole McDonald, who was used sparingly in run packages last season, and Larry Tuileta, who plays on the UH volleyball team.
Former Farrington High School quarterback Justin Uahinui redshirted for the Warriors last season and will be eligible to play this season, along with incoming freshmen Jeremy Moussa, a California recruit who enrolled at Manoa earlier this month, and Chevan Cordeiro, who led Saint Louis School to the 2017 state championship.
Here's a more in-depth breakdown of the candidates to take over head coach Nick Rolovich's offense next season:
McDonald was a project coming into Manoa this past season. An exceptional athlete with great size (6-foot-4, 205 lbs), McDonald had a handful of cameo appearances for the Warriors last season to give the offense a spark.
Here's a look at what he was able to do as senior in high school before coming to Manoa:
He appeared in six games last season, rushing for 138 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. He also threw for 22 yards on 5-of-9 passing and one touchdown.
McDonald has the experience advantage of the new faces looking to take the starting job under center after he redshirted in 2016, but McDonald hasn't proven to be a reliable option throwing the ball from a pocket, which is essential in a run-and-shoot offense.
Tuileta is an interesting story that many Hawaii fans are all too familiar with. After flipping his commitment to USC at the 11th hour on national signing day a few years back, Tuileta (6-foot-2, 200 lbs) has made his way back to Manoa with a year left on his eligibility.
While he was away from the game for awhile, Tuileta was a star during his career at Punahou, earning Gatorade Hawaii Player of the Year honors. Tuileta also plays libero for the Rainbow Warrior volleyball team.
Now with a full season with the Warriors under his belt as the scout team quarterback, Tuileta could have a fighting chance of playing next season if he's able to impress during Spring ball.
The former Farrington High standout was a preferred walk-on for Hawaii a year ago and redshirted this past season. Uahinui lettered two years at quarterback for Farrington, earning an all-OIA honorable mention as a junior.
In the 2016 Life Champion Senior Bowl on Kauai, Uahinui put on a show, throwing for 167 yards and three touchdowns all in the first quarter. While he hasn't played a snap for the Warriors yet, Uahinui has already made a positive impact for the program.
Standing at 6-foot-3, 195 lbs, Uahinui has the prototype size for the position and will have an opportunity to prove his worth as a redshirt freshman this coming season.
Moussa signed early for the Warriors and has already enrolled in classes at Manoa for the current Spring semester. A three-star prospect out of Eleanor Roosevelt in Corona, California, Moussa (6-foot-2, 190 lbs) is a dual-threat quarterback to get excited about.
As a two-year starter, Moussa threw for 90 touchdowns and more than 7,000 yards.
In his junior season, he passed for 4,008 yards and 56 touchdowns, completing 61 percent of his passes. As a senior, Moussa threw for 3,029 yards and 34 touchdowns while completing 60 percent of his passes.
While Moussa may not be as good of a runner as McDonald or Tuileta, he makes up for it with his arm and is accustomed to playing in an Air-Raid style offense, which shares some similarities with the run-and-shoot.
Coming off a stellar senior season at St. Louis, many Hawaii fans will be clamoring for Cordeiro to get a look from the Warriors coaching staff this season. Cordeiro (6-0, 175 lbs) is a smaller quarterback than the other players on this list, he has both the arm and the capability to make plays his legs that the Warriors are looking for.
Cordeiro threw for 3,157 yards as a senior along with 29 touchdowns to just eight interceptions. He also ran for 454 yards and 10 scores. Cordeiro is coming off a successful Polynesian Bowl in which he earned the starting job for Team Mauka after showing out during practice.
As a true freshman, Cordeiro has an early opportunity to step in and become the Warriors quarterback of the present and future should be he impress over summer practices.