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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Robby Toma Excited for Kahanu Kia's Future at Notre Dame

November 19, 2020

The pipeline from Hawaii to Notre Dame has been strong throughout the last few years and Brian Polian deserves a ton of credit for making those long flights out to O’ahu. 

On Thursday, the Fighting Irish landed another commitment from Hawaii as 2021 Punahou linebacker Kahanu Kia‍ committed to Notre Dame. 

Former Notre Dame and Punahou receiver Robby Toma made the decision to attend Notre Dame in 2009 and he expects Kia to do fit right in with Clark Lea’s physical defense as prospects from Hawaii pride themselves on physicality. 

"I wouldn't take anything away from anyone on the mainland, but there is a special pride because we come from such a small state and community,” Toma told ISD. “Kids want to prove to the entire state what they can do at a high level of football."

Kia is a high energy prospect that brings the wood and Toma feels his future could be on the edge in South Bend. 

"Notre Dame will mold him into a position, but Kahanu has such a high motor that he'll be a threat coming off the edge,” stated Toma. “Seeing how big he's gotten in the last few years and he can put on some more weight, but also keep his speed. 

"I think he'll do just fine if he's able to find that niche coming off the edge." 

Toma has coached Kia and coached with Kia’s father, Nate, over the years. He’s seen Kia mature into a coveted prospect and he’s seen the work the three-star prospect has put into achieving his dreams.

"I've coached with his dad and we've kept in touch throughout Kahanu's recruitment,” Toma explained. “I did start to crack up when I saw him do drills in the front yard with shoulder pads and no jersey. Him and his little brother were tackling a bag in the front yard. If that's not Hawaii, I don't know what is." 

Toma won’t take credit for showing Hawaii kids it was OK to leave the island for the mainland as he joined Manti Te’o in Notre Dame’s recruiting class, but seeing more local talent leave the island has been rewarding. 

"The talent level here is probably at an all-time high,” said Toma. “Not only kids from my high school, but to see our kids out here getting looks because of guys like Manti, Tu'a (Tagovailoa) and (Marcus) Mariota. We're not known for just offensive linemen anymore. It's nice to see a lot of skill players and backers getting recruited. 

"There's a lot of pride out here in Hawaii and I'm definitely excited more kids are going to Notre Dame." 

BREAKING | 2021 Hawaii LB Kahanu Kia Commits to Notre Dame

Film Don't Lie | Kahanu Kia

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