Cole McDonald is going to say aloha to the NFL.
The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors have had no shortage of prolific passers making waves in program history, and Cole McDonald has joined the ranks of Colt Brennan, Chang and others as just that.
But the Warriors quarterback still has a long ladder to climb to becoming a quality NFL quarterback. The first rung is the 2020 NFL Draft, where McDonald went to the Titans in the seventh round. Here’s what you need to know about the California kid and two-year Hawaii starter:
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McDonald hadn’t been offered any scholarships from any Division I schools until the night before national signing day. In fact, McDonald’s intentions were to go to junior college for a year to “prove himself” despite an offer from Alabama A&M on the table.
But at the 11th hour, Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich reached out to McDonald, offering him a scholarship to come down to the Aloha State and help revitalize the program. McDonald, obviously, took Rolovich up on the offer.
Fastest QB in the draft
McDonald notched the fastest 40-yard dash time at this year’s NFL Combine at a 4.58 clip, barely edging out Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts (4.59).
Those legs were put to good use during his time at Hawaii, too, with his final season resulting in seven touchdowns on the ground with 383 yards rushing to pair with it. In all, McDonald had 12 rushing TDs in 33 career games as a Rainbow Warrior.
Questions about his arm
While McDonald put up gaudy numbers through the air — who from Hawaii doesn’t? — there’s some question about his arm at the NFL level. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com says that his delivery, arm accuracy and footwork/platform are all questionable and works in progress. Because of it, McDonald will likely land in the later rounds despite there being some talent and athletic ability there.
No stranger to hardware
In 2018, McDonald won the team’s Offensive MVP and was also voted an honorable mention as a member of the All Mountain-West team. In 2019 he built on his debut season as starter, as he was a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award, an honor given to a senior or fourth-year quarterback on leadership, scholastic achievements and on-field accomplishments.
Made good on a promise
When McDonald took the scholarship offer to head down to Hawaii, he wanted to be sure he made a difference with himself and the program.
“I signed my letter of intent, and that was that. I was going there to succeed and help bring that program back to life,” McDonald told Bleacher Report in 2018.
Well, McDonald did that: in two seasons as Hawaii’s starter, he lead the Warriors to back-to-back winning seasons, the first back-to-back winning seasons since 2006 and 2007.