Hawaii has made a name for itself recently with its prolific passers. Timmy Chang holds the NCAA career passing record (though Case Keenum is trying to break it this season). Colt Brennan got himself into the Heisman mix.
Now there is Bryant Moniz, who last season became just the 10th player in NCAA history to throw for 5,000 yards. Moniz has the eye-popping stats his predecessors had, but he has something they never did: a Facebook fan page.
The Warriors created the page to help bring a little more love Moniz’s way. On it, you will find feature stories and videos, including a trailer for the “Mighty Mo” series, which features Moniz. In the intro to the video, Moniz is dressed in his jersey and holds the state flag while standing on an overlook of Waikiki.
The rest of the video features the “Hawaii 5-0” theme music and highlights of Moniz from last season, along with him surfing, holding his daughter, working out in the weight room and standing on a military ship.
“It was a lot of fun,” Moniz said of making the video. “And I think it brings good publicity to our team and our university and our school and hopefully it will help out with boosting the economy, and maybe recruiting future players to Hawaii and stuff like that.”
Did he get recognized while shooting the video?
“Tourists were watching, but one kid from the mainland recognized me,” Moniz said. “We took a picture together on top of the outlook.”
Moniz’s story has been retold many times, but it bears repeating. He walked on at Hawaii and found himself at the bottom of the depth chart when he began in 2009. To help support himself, he delivered pizzas. But Moniz proved himself throughout the spring, and then injuries vaulted him into the starting job.
Last season, he led the nation in passing (360 yards per game), total offense (367.3 ypg) and passing touchdowns (39). This season, Hawaii was voted the preseason favorite to win the WAC, and he was voted preseason offensive player of the year.
But to match the success he had last season, he has to break in a new set of receivers. Of the top six pass-catchers last season, five are gone. Only Royce Pollard returns. There is a long list of players who will try to become the next Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares. Moniz spent extra time with them this summer not only doing 7-on-7s, but also hanging out off the field so they could all get to know each other better.
“The attitude of the guys is where it needs to be,” Moniz said. “Everybody wants to be that next Greg Salas or Kealoha Pilares.”
On that list, three potential starters -- Darius Bright, Billy Ray Stutzmann and Jeremiah Ostrowski -- have all missed time during preseason camp with injuries. Meanwhile, Hawaii also will be breaking in an entirely new offensive line for the third straight season.
For Moniz, all the changes mean more of a leadership role. He is ready to take that on.
And if there is a little bit more attention on him, too? He is ready for that as well.