“For the love of the game”

Nobody needs to paint a picture for quarterback Hunter Hughes — as a graphic artist, he can do that himself — to know that he is facing long, long, improbable odds as he prepares for UH’s pro day later this month.

The odds “have always been against me,” Hughes said. “It was a miracle I was on a Division I roster. I’m going to go out and give it my best shot.”

The Warriors cut Hughes twice before he eventually joined as a walk-on in 2016. In his two UH seasons, he did not take a snap in a game. But Hughes proved valuable as a scout player and quarterback-room presence to earn a scholarship for his last semester at UH. He earned a degree in December.

Hughes could have just focused on the rest of his life. He was paying the bills with his work as a graphic artist in Hawaii. But he decided, at his own expense, to participate in pro day in California. That means paying for his own travel and living accommodations to the UH-administered combine before NFL scouts on the Azusa Pacific and Citrus College campuses.

“I consider it an investment,” he said. “If there’s a chance to spin a few footballs for NFL scouts, I’m going to take a jump at that in a heartbeat. It’s one of those situations where I can go into it without any fear, without any expectations. I can go out and have fun.”

Hughes said he hopes to provide familiarity for former UH receivers Ammon Barker, Keelan Ewaliko and Isaiah Bernard during the field drills. “It’ll be good to be with those guys again and be on the field,” Hughes said.

Last year, long-snapper Brodie Nakama participated in pro day, partly to help kicker/punter Rigo Sanchez. Sanchez eventually signed a free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts. In the past, former Warriors have parlayed pro-day performances into contracts with teams overseas or indoor leagues.

Hughes acknowledged this probably is his last shot at performing in an organized-football setting.

“I’m doing it for the love of the game, for the love of the guys, and the opportunity,” Hughes said.


  1. Da Punchbowl Kid March 4, 2018 9:48 am

    Very well written post about a special Warrior. Mahalo, Hunter for all of your dedication to the team.

    Mr Tsai, does Hunter have a website to see his work?

    Good luck to all combine Warriors!

  2. What? March 4, 2018 11:02 am

    16 from previous post,

    “islandman March 3, 2018 9:57 pm
    16. Scott Frost didn’t have head coaching experience before UCF nor did Chris Petersen before Boise.”

    Who cares about Boise st or UCF. Obviously, they got the formula on how to do things right and how to win. We are talking about UH. Past history has shown the people in power at UH has made horrible decisions when it comes to football.

  3. DaveLetterMan March 4, 2018 11:46 am

    Morning Tsaikos!
    Good luck Hunter!!
    Who pays for the other participants? How can we help Hunter with his ecpenses?

  4. islandman March 4, 2018 11:49 am

    2. Bob Wagner didn’t have head coaching experience before becoming one at UH.

  5. suckkabooya March 4, 2018 1:14 pm

    Imagine for a moment that the most stressful part of your 3-9 season was the decisions made over the management of policies and not of X’s and O’s. Must have been stressful for sure, especially with a young staff that might have required more oversight (on off field issues) than he anticipated. I think it (the off field management aspect) puts you one or two steps behind in terms of the on field operations. At least it seemed that way as you watched the season progress. With the insight detailed by Boolakanaka (via Rolo’s family) you can get a better understanding of why last years team looked so aloof and fragmented at times. The team also seemed (my opinion) like they lacked Senior (or any on the field player) vocal leadership. It seemed to me like they could have won almost every game (even the Colorado St. game but definitely not at Utah St.) had there been a little more emotional engagement by the players. One or two plays here and there could have made them 9-3. But I imagine it is hard for the players when there is (or was) turbulence between the coaching staff, thus leading to the “going through the motions” type of play that we saw at times. With this more experienced staff maybe there will be more “trust” between all parties (coaches and players) so the focus for Coach Rolovich (and the players too) can be more on the X’s and O’s this season. I have confidence that they can fix this. We shall see soon enough.

  6. Stephen Tsai March 4, 2018 1:15 pm

    Everybody has to pay his own way.

  7. graham March 4, 2018 1:20 pm

    #6 Stephen is that normal for all colleges? Kudos to Hunter, sounds like a great young man.

  8. burro sabio March 4, 2018 1:48 pm

    Most seniors don’t have to travel 2,500 miles for their own pro day.

    JJ is the only recent UH coach who had significant head coaching experience (disregarding Mack’s previous head coaching experience at Oregon Tech) before being hired.

  9. cappie the dog March 4, 2018 2:27 pm

    I wonder if it has occured to Isaac Fleming that he might have missed his once chance at going to the “Big Dance” by quitting on his teammates.

    East Carolina just finished their regular season (4-14 and 10-20).

  10. seewhy March 4, 2018 4:12 pm

    RE: #9

    At least he got his playing time.

  11. Duster March 4, 2018 5:26 pm

    #9, so the grass was not greener?

  12. Ran March 4, 2018 5:49 pm

    Why even think of Isaac Fleming….We won’t hear about him after he finishes at ECU…..

  13. cappie the dog March 5, 2018 6:16 am

    Argument for “East Coast Bias” being a real thing.

    LSU is unranked in the Collegiate Baseball poll, but #16 in the Baseball America poll.

  14. cappie the dog March 5, 2018 6:20 am


    You’re right.

    Hawaii would never have learned that Brocke Stepteau is a competent, sometimes transcendent(for a walk-on) basketball player who is probably the team MVP.

  15. LizKauai March 5, 2018 6:32 am

    Good luck to Warriors all! :mrgreen:

  16. Stephen Tsai March 5, 2018 7:54 am

    Well, you could have a pro day in Hawaii, but you wouldn’t have very many scouts attending. UH is piggy-backing the USC pro day.

  17. Stephen Tsai March 5, 2018 8:01 am

    I have kids. You have kids. And if you don’t have kids, you probably know people who have kids. Hey, we were all kids once.
    I’ve never known any normal kid who complained about not being disciplined enough.
    Players left for many different reasons, but lack of discipline wasn’t one of them. One of the departing players was suspended for a game this year. Another drew the ire of teammates because his tardiness caused the entire position group to run hills.
    Probably the biggest reason players transfer is because they think — or they’ve been told — they can play on a bigger stage.
    Stay. Go. It’s a free country. People can do whatever they choose. Sometimes the grass is greener, sometimes it’s crabgrass. We live in a time when people change jobs and careers frequently. It adds spice to life.

  18. Stephen Tsai March 5, 2018 8:17 am

    Today’s topic is baseball on the new blog posting: http://www.hawaiiwarriorworld.com/?p=45528

  19. Stephen Tsai March 5, 2018 11:01 am

    New, new post (on new d-lineman): http://www.hawaiiwarriorworld.com/?p=45529

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