Former UH QB Cordeiro finds his way in San Jose

Cordeiro, who transferred to San Jose State in December 2021 after four seasons with the University of Hawaii football team, was named the Mountain West’s preseason offensive player of the year. Wednesday’s announcement was made during the league’s Football Media Days in Las Vegas.
Born and reared in Hawaii, Cordeiro has adjusted to the Bay Area. “Growing up and doing things on my own, whether it’s small things like washing dishes, cooking or shopping at Costco,” he said.
And for Cordeiro, football is fun again.
After a tumultuous 2021 season under then UH coach Todd Graham’s leadership, Cordeiro was among several Warriors to enter the transfer portal. Graham resigned in January 2022, and Timmy Chang, a former record-setting UH quarterback in the early 2000s, was named as successor.
“Just having to wake up and go to practice wasn’t any fun,” Cordeiro recalled of his decision. “Now I know they’re having fun with Coach Timmy. That was the main goal. I didn’t want to leave because I didn’t like my teammates or I didn’t like Hawaii. It wasn’t that. It was a bigger thing. My goal was when I left — and my teammates left — that we’d make a change for Hawaii, and hopefully we did that. … It took a lot for me to leave my home and my teammates. I spent four years over there. We grew a lot. They’re my brothers for life.”
While his new teammates greeted him warmly, Cordeiro was admittedly homesick the first couple of months in San Jose. “But I moved on really quick,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. When I stepped into the locker room, they treated me like family.”
SJSU safety Tre Jenkins was on a family vacation in Hawaii when Cordeiro committed to the Spartans. During that trip, Cordeiro accepted an invitation to attend Jenkins’ family party. Cordeiro and Jenkins bonded after that. Jenkins also was relieved he no longer had to try to tackle Cordeiro during games.
“I wanted to tackle Chevan so bad,” Jenkins said of Cordeiro’s elusiveness as an opposing quarterback. “I was like, I might take a 15(-yard penalty) just to let him know I’m here. Especially when he runs, he doesn’t slide. He kind of falls forward for the extra two yards. That irked me every time. Every time he did that against us, I was like, ‘I’m almost there. Wait one second more and I’m going to hit you.’”
Last year, Cordeiro led the Mountain West in passing yards (3,251) and touchdown passes (23). Cordeiro was admittedly emotional facing the Warriors in the 2022 season finale in San Jose.
“They were allowed to hit me now,” Cordeiro said of his former teammates. “They couldn’t touch me in (UH’s) practices. It was a weird feeling. It’s football. When we’re on the field, we’re not friends. I understood. They were talking the whole (game). They were chirping the whole time. They were trying to get into my head.”
Since the end of the 2022 season, the 6-foot-2 Cordeiro has gained 11 pounds and now weighs 196. He cut Jack in the Box from his menu — sourdough Jack with curly fries and an Oreo shake were his favorites— and now eats salads and lean chicken or steak.
SJSU strength/conditioning coach Cullen Carroll also implemented a rigorous offseason program. “The workouts we’ve been doing are hard,” Cordeiro said. “Every Friday, we have a run. I’ll be throwing up. He puts us through adversity to see what kind of players we are after adversity. I got stronger and faster.”
Cordeiro said he is not looking ahead to the Oct. 28 game between his current and former schools at the Ching Complex on the UH campus.
“I’m going to have emotions coming back home and playing in front of my family in a different uniform,” Cordeiro said. “It’s going to be weird putting my pads on in the baseball stadium. It’s going to be a fun one. … I know Hawaii will always be my home, no matter what. I can always go back and live there. I’m focused on San Jose State and my teammates and just winning the Mountain West Conference.”

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