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Tyler Graunke spent four years waiting for a chance to be the starting quarterback at Hawaii.
The past five weeks have seemed even longer to him.
Graunke was reinstated to the team yesterday by coach Greg McMackin after he was suspended for more than a month because of academic and behavior issues. He will have to battle back to earn No. 1 status.
"We've put it behind us and I'm on the team," Graunke said yesterday. "I'm sorry I put myself in this situation, and I apologize to my teammates and fans and especially myself."
Graunke completed academic improvements, community service and paid a fine.
"Tyler and I did meet (yesterday) and he has fulfilled his obligations," McMackin said. "He's done a good job. What that is is between he and I. He'll be back (today)."
Graunke was to participate in the team's Super Games "no rules basketball" event at Klum Gym this morning, then throw passes with the other quarterbacks and receivers this afternoon.
Before Graunke's suspension, he was considered almost a sure thing to be the Warriors' starting quarterback to open the season Aug. 30 at Florida. But McMackin said last week the quarterback spot is "wide open."
Junior Inoke Funaki will be No. 1 going into spring practice, which starts March 31. Senior Jake Santos, and freshmen Shane Austin, Kiran Kepo'o and Bryce Kalauokaaea will also be in camp. Junior college transfers Greg Alexander and Brent Rausch join the team in the summer.
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Tyler Graunke's first scheduled activity upon his retun to the Hawaii football team today was "no rules basketball." That's ironic, since he plans on following every rule precisely in his remaining year as a Warriors quarterback.
Graunke was the clear favorite to become the starter after Colt Brennan's departure for the NFL Draft after last season. But the 5-foot-11, 192-pound three-year No. 2 man was suspended five weeks ago for violating team rules.
"I'm sorry I put myself in that position and I'm never going to let it happen again," Graunke said yesterday, after he was reinstated by coach Greg McMackin.
At the time of the suspension, Graunke said it was a minor academic glitch that had to be taken care of. But yesterday he told the Star-Bulletin that "issues having to do with partying in the dorms" several years ago contributed to his problems.
"It was pretty much all academics, but I had a hold on my records and I had to get that off," Graunke said. "I had to do community service and I had a fine I had to pay because things were lingering on my record. Coach (June) Jones let it go, Coach Mack, he's not messing around. He said I need to get it taken care of."
Part of the academic issue was confusion over enrollment in a class last semester, Graunke said.
"I had three classes when you need to be in four to be a full-time student," he said. "I had to scramble to get in one."
McMackin and Graunke met yesterday morning and the result was the quarterback's reinstatement.
But he will have to battle to regain his former status. McMackin said last week the starting quarterback spot -- like most other positions on the team, especially offense -- is "wide open." Junior Inoke Funaki, the third-stringer the past two seasons, goes into spring camp March 31 as the designated No. 1.
Senior Jake Santos and freshmen Shane Austin, Kiran Kepo'o and Bryce Kalauokaaea will also be in camp. Junior college transfers Greg Alexander and Brent Rausch arrive this summer.
Graunke led UH to wins against Charleston Southern and Nevada and earned a WAC Player of the Week award last year when Brennan was injured. He also threw a pass for the Warriors' only touchdown in the Sugar Bowl.
But he hasn't worked out with teammates since the suspension.
"Everybody was pretty supportive. But I kept to myself, I was embarrassed and depressed," Graunke said. "I worked out on my own, one to three times a week."
He said he's excited about rejoining the team.
"This is going to be fun for me, getting back out there with the team and showing I deserve to be there," said Graunke, who said he would join the other quarterbacks and the receivers in an informal pass-and-catch session this afternoon. "It's over and I'm not going to look back."
Graunke chuckled when reminded that his predecessor, Brennan, had to come back from self-inflicted adversity, too.
"We all have our speed bumps in life," Graunke said. "I think I'm passed mine."