He may not be a household name for those who din’t stay up until 3 a.m. ET to watch football on Saturdays in the fall, but Hawaii’s Cole McDonald is one of the most prolific throwers in the game.
In his first year as starter for the Rainbow Warriors, McDonald threw for 3,875 yards, 36 touchdowns, and just 10 interceptions, averaging eight yards per attempt. He added 359 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
Those numbers would have likely been higher, if not for a run of injuries that knocked him out from a few games. His backups, led by the pretty impressive Chevan Cordeiro, attempted 45 passes total while filling in for him.
Those injuries were more gruesome than we knew.
Cole McDonald went into the extent of the injuries that he dealt with in a recent interview with The Maui News.
Not only did McDonald suffer a sprained MCL in a late-September five-overtime win over San Jose State, but it was later discovered that he had internal bleeding which was draining to his scrotum.
It’s quite clear that McDonald is the starter for UH, even after an injury-plagued campaign last season when backup Chevan Cordeiro, a freshman from Saint Louis School, replaced him with enough success to fuel quarterback controversy talk.
“First game I strained my MCL, played through that,” McDonald said. “First quarter against San Jose State I took a shot to the side. The guy that hit me actually knocked himself out.”
With lingering pain from the SJSU game, he later went to the hospital for extra tests “and I had some internal bleeding in my side that didn’t drain out properly. It was all in my scrotum. … I couldn’t walk for about a week. … I played hurt most of the season. It was pretty brutal.”
McDonald’s hot start turned into an up-and-down but ultimately successful season, both for him personally and the team as a whole. Hawaii entered the year with relatively muted expectations, and went 8-6 with a bowl berth.
McDonald was an honorable mention All-Mountain West quarterback, and should be ready for another big year in 2019. It sounds like he’s entering the year near 100-percent.
He said, “I feel great” now, and he is “just mentally prepared and ready to go.”
Hopefully he’ll be healthy, and can live up to that promise.