It takes a combination of skill, good health, opportunity and good performance to become a four-year starter, which is what made John Estes and Kaulana such rarities. Each started every game of his UH career. So, too, did Dan Kelly, but he was a kicker — usually a less-physical position, although the Iceman did not know that.
Linebacker Solomon Elimimian started all but two games. But he played every game of his UH career. Kealoha Pilares also has started nearly every game in the first three UH season — a demanding task considering he has played running back, slotback and wideout.
Long-snapper Luke Ingram and punter Alex Dunnachie — both sophomores — have a chance to be four-year starters.
Of this year’s freshmen, Allen Sampson has a shot, as a kick returner, although I’m not sure if that counts. Middle linebacker George Daily-Lyles also could end up with a Solomon-like career.
The wildcard is Chauncy Winchester-Makainai, who was recruited as an offensive guard. But because of an injury to Clayton Laurel and Brett Leonard’s move to guard, Winchester-Makainai practiced at tackle during spring training. Now, with Matagisila Lefiti expected to miss the season opener because of foot surgery, Winchester-Makainai has been practicing at center. The coaches insist Winchester-Makainai is the real deal who very well could end up playing extensively somewhere on the offensive line. He can bench press 405 pounds, and run 20 yards in 2.98 seconds, fourth-fastest among UH offensive linemen.
Side note: He would like to be known as Winchester-Makainai, although only Makainai will be written on his jersey.