By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
10. JAKE INGRAM: Hey, long snappers need love, too, and the former defensive lineman out of Mililani High School may have been Hawaii’s best. In 2009, Ingram became the only long snapper in UH history to get selected in the NFL Draft (New England Patriots, 6th round).
9. DAN KELLY: Kelly wasn’t the most accurate placekicker in Hawaii history – he was 34 for 55 in FG attempts (.618) in four seasons – but he’s in my Top 10 for one simple reason: Without his clutch performances in 2007, UH would never have earned a trip to the Sugar Bowl. In an early-season contest at Louisiana Tech, his 49-yard FG with 1:34 left in the fourth quarter sent the game into overtime. Then, in a Nov. 16 game at Nevada, Kelly converted a 45-yard attempt with 11 seconds left to give the Rainbow Warriors the win. Without Kelly, Hawaii’s undefeated regular season never happens.
8. JEFF SYDNER: One of the most electrifying all-purpose players to ever wear a Rainbow Warrior uniform. Is second on the school’s list for most career punt return yards (920), behind only Chad Owens. Would likely have been No. 1 on the list, but Sydner skipped his senior season to enter the 1992 NFL Draft.
7. MATT McBRIAR: The former Australian Rules Football player from Melbourne, Australia led UH in punting for three seasons from 2000 to ’02. His cannon for a leg allowed him to average 42.2 yards per punt. He was a First-Team All-WAC selection as a senior after averaging 44.8 yards per punt. McBriar later took his talents to the NFL, where he played 12 seasons. He was twice named to the Pro Bowl as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
6. RIGOBERTO SANCHEZ: Sanchez, who is now in his fifth season with the Indianapolis Colts, has a strong case for being considered the greatest punter in UH history. His career average is tops among all punters, at 44.8 yards per boot. He was honorable mention All-Mountain West in both of his UH seasons.
5. MIKE EDWARDS: Hawaii’s all-time leader in kickoff return yards (2,301) in just two seasons of action. Edwards earned honorable mention All-American honors in 2012 after gaining 1,215 kickoff return yards (30.4 avg.) and returning three returns for TDs.
4. MATT HARDING: The speedy Harding, who played for the program from 1992 to ’95, is Hawaii’s all-time leader in blocked kicks, with 12 (6 punts, 5 FGs, 1 PAT). He once blocked two FGs in a 1993 game against San Diego State.
3. SCOTT HARDING: This Harding (no relation to Matt) was an All-American selection as a punter in 2014, his senior year. Not only did Harding lead Hawaii in punting in 2013 and ’14, he was also the team’s top punt returner in his four seasons as a Rainbow Warrior. Harding was also a top receiver and, because of his versatility, was twice named the team’s MVP.
2. CHAD OWENS: “Mighty Mouse” made it a habit to save the day for the Rainbow Warriors. Owens earned Second-Team All-American honors in 2004 after setting an NCAA-record by returning five punts for TDs. He also tied college football’s career record with eight returns for touchdowns (six punts, two kickoffs). And, of course, UH fans will never forget his 2001 performance against BYU, when he scored two TDs and set the NCAA single-game record for kick-return yardage (342).
- JASON ELAM: Where do we begin? Elam was a two-time All-American placekicker, including First-Team honors in 1992. Remains the all-time leading scorer in UH and WAC history. He finished his collegiate career third in NCAA history in scoring (395). Set a UH record with a 56-yard FG against BYU in 1992 (since tied by Justin Ayat). Elam kicked the game-winning FG to lead Hawaii past No. 9 Iowa, 27-24, in Hawaii’s 1988 season opener. In 1992, Elam also led UH in punting, with a 44.5 average. He would later serve as a three-time All-Pro kicker in the NFL, winning two Super Bowls as a member of the Denver Broncos.