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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

2021 LB Kahanu Kia Soaking Up Final Days in Hawaii

May 12, 2021

2021 Punahou (Hawaii) linebacker Kahanu Kia‍ will report to Notre Dame in about a month, but the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has a little business to finish first. 

Hawaii didn't get a football season this year, but Punahou has started to scrimmage with other teams in the conference in recent weeks. 

"It's all just been football," Kia told ISD of his final days before he leaves for Notre Dame. "We've been having these scrimmages with a couple of teams from our league. We're practicing, so everything has been good.

"We played St. Louis and Kamehameha. It was just scrimmaging, but it was football. I was grateful. I had probably like 40 reps at the most because they were super quick games."

It wasn’t a huge sample size for Kia, yet he noticed some improvements in his game after working out for 18 months without a game. 

"I felt way better physically and with my speed," stated Kia. "I understand the game more with coverage and dealing with blockers. It was good to see that progress." 

Speed has been a focus of Kia in his offseason training along with the small details of playing linebacker. 

"I think overall, I've focused on just being a linebacker," said Kia. "I've tried to work on my speed overall to get faster with my straight-line speed. I think I can always work on being a better tackler." 

Kia has been doing weekly meetings with the Notre Dame coaching staff and fellow 2021 linebacker Prince Kollie. 

"Prince (Kollie) and I usually meet once a week with them," Kia said. "That's my dawg. It's going to be super fun and I can't wait to get up there with Prince." 

When Kia arrives at Notre Dame, the expectation is that he'll start his career on the inside of the Irish linebacker corps. 

"Position-wise, we've been talking mostly Will, but they also talked a little bit about Mike," explained Kia. "At first, they had me at Will and I was comfortable with that because it's pretty similar to what I've played. 

"This last week, my team repped me at Mike a little bit. It's so fun. I never realized how fun it was and now I'm totally down to play whatever they want." 

Why is Mike fun for Kia? It allows him to play with less thinking and allows him to find the football. 

"From the small reps I got at Mike in our defense, the outside backer has more responsibility and will be in pass coverage more and blitz the outside," Kia stated. "At Mike, it's more instinctive and it's almost just like finding the hole and attack the running back." 

Kia also saw a glimpse of what his future could look like as he was able to watch part of Notre Dame's spring game. 

And yes, his eyes naturally gravitated to his former high school teammates Marist Liufau. 

"I watched some highlights and the beginning of it," Kia stated. "He's the same ol' Marist. He's just hitting people. You love to see it." 

Kia also is planning to take his mission, which could come following his freshman year and he's thankful for Notre Dame working with him on it.

"That's my plan and that's what I hope to do," explained Kia. "I'm just super grateful Notre Dame is letting me but I'm just focused on football for now." 

The Hawaii weather will be something Kia soaks up over the last month at home as he knows he'll miss it, along with a few other perks of life on O'ahu.  

"I'm going to miss my family and everyone here," said Kia. "I'll miss the beach, food and the mountains - just being home. I'm excited to go out there and I'll be fine." 

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