Warrior Beat: Donovan Dalton made safety a priority for Hawaii football

Redshirt sophomore Donovan Dalton played more snaps at Washington than at any other point of his career thus far. / Photo by Stephen Tsai

An understudy is expected to be ready when his number is called.

At 4:40 p.m. Pacific Time this past Saturday, in Donovan Dalton’s 40th game as a Rainbow Warrior, the coaches yelled for No. 29.

Dalton replaced safety Khoury Bethley, who was ejected. Bethley had started in place of ailing Ikem Okeke. Dalton made eight tackles — exceeding last season’s total of six — in the 53-20 loss to Washington.

“That was the first time getting 50-plus snaps (in a game) for three years,” Dalton said. “It felt different. It felt comfortable. I felt good getting back into the swing of things playing football, doing what I love to do.”

It had been a circuitous route for Dalton, who grew up in Apple Valley, Minn. Before his junior year, he moved to Scottsdale, Ariz., where he enrolled at Desert Mountain High.

“My GPA was horrible there,” he recalled. “I had to move out of there, and get to Saguaro (High School) halfway through my junior year. I finished my school year out there. I was able to get my grades up and talk to a lot of college coaches and get on the radar. And that’s how I ended up here.”

Through mutual agreement, Dalton spent the 2017 season as an academic redshirt. He was allowed to practice, which meant he faced the Warriors’ top offense every day.

“I practiced against John Ursua, and that helped me a lot,” Dalton said.

Dalton said the redshirt year proved helpful in acclimating to Hawaii and college.

“Patience was the main thing,” he said. “I’m a guy who always likes to go out there and play right away. I had to be patient, and wait my turn.”

In 2018, he played in 12 games, mostly on special teams. He had five coverage tackles on kickoffs. His lone defensive tackle netted a 1-yard loss.

Dalton has found a home on defense after being a two-way player in high school.

“I like defense a lot more,” he said. “I like the physical play. I like hitting people instead of being hit.”


  1. ai-eee-soos September 18, 2019 3:18 pm


  2. SailorBlue September 18, 2019 3:18 pm

    Aloha everybody ~ WAHOO! It’s T-GATE time. This weekend we are doing a ***FRYGATE*** with Homey ‘wokking’ everything that isn’t nailed down. The Tsai-kos have reserved ***CABANA A*** at Rainbow Bay Marina. The routine is normal with the early crew arrive/set-up ~9AM, grill crew fires-up ~10-10:30, eat ono grindz until clean-up around 4:30PM. I do not anticipate the back gate being open but the one by the pool should be. Questions – email me at jboster(at)yahoo.com Hope to see everybody there. Cheers, SailorBlue

  3. burro sabio September 18, 2019 4:17 pm

    CtD, go to D-Back’s team website, then video, and search on Rojas. Get video.

  4. H-Man September 18, 2019 5:18 pm

    He’s third string. Did he earn more PT?

  5. Akamai Okole September 18, 2019 5:48 pm

    Great Evening All!

    Eh, Sailor Blue sed, “FRY-Gate not CRY-Gate so bring yur bestest-est kine atti-ma-tude eef you coming! (How was my DPK impersonation? 😉 )

  6. Akamai Okole September 18, 2019 5:54 pm


    I jes want them all to earn Omelettes!

  7. kalua pig September 18, 2019 8:04 pm

    i like the fact that our team is getting a lot of the younger guys game experience.phase2.

  8. Honu888 September 19, 2019 7:41 am

    It’s very impressive to see when we have ailing players, the next man up is just as good. We have more depth than years past. Kudos to all the coaches for their hard work recruiting and coaching them up!

  9. Fish September 19, 2019 8:48 am

    He played as good or better than our starters. I like the fact that he tackles low and wraps up.He should get more playing time so he could possibly replace Hicks and Okeke next year.

  10. winning September 19, 2019 10:52 am

    Granted, U Dub has a good team but UH could have been better. Only the “O” line played well-they get an A. Quarterback gets an F- panic! Coaching gets a D for taking too long to adjust offensively and defensively-becoming a trademark for last 4 yrs..

  11. winning September 19, 2019 10:55 am

    Is Mr. Tsai related to the CEO of ALIBABA Joe Tsai? If so WHOAAA!

  12. Da Punchbowl Kid September 19, 2019 11:53 am

    I think the Warriors were a little gun-shy that first half. They played a lot better in the second half. I am anxious to see Li’iliki get more reps. Rolo says all three RBs are considered starters, which I think is good. Get more reps, build more depth!


  13. Stephen Tsai September 19, 2019 12:16 pm

    New post: https://www.hawaiiwarriorworld.com/?p=51136

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