Notre Dame Football Recruiting

2020 DL Aidan Keanaaina Has Set A Commitment Date

February 6, 2019

2020 J.K. Mullen (Colo.) defensive tackle Aidan Keanaaina‍ holds the nickname ‘The Big Kahuna’ and apparently the four-star prospect is only getting bigger this offseason. 

“I’ve been working out a lot,” Keanaaina told Irish Sports Daily. “I’ve been told by some peers that I have been getting bigger and that’s always good to hear. I’m always working on technique and really getting down to the small things.”

Keanaaina says he is weighing in at around 295 pounds but will likely lose some weight over the next few months to prepare for his senior season. 

“During the offseason, I fluctuate a lot with my weight,” stated Keanaaina. “My weight goes up and down easily, so it depends on the week. I always want to go into the season a little lighter at about 285.” 

When it comes to his game, the 6-foot-3, 295-pounder was seen shooting gaps more frequently as a junior and the aggressive play was a point of emphasis over the last year.

“It’s something I wanted to incorporate because I learned a lot between my sophomore and junior year,” explained Keanaaina. “I watched a lot of my sophomore film and coaches pointed out stuff for me to look at. I started to focus on the gap and not the man. I wanted to attack the gap and not the man straight up because that takes longer. 

“I worked on different movements and using my hands to change direction. I wanted to be more fluid off the line.” 

The Colorado native made a conscious effort to listen to his coach and college coaches across the country by improving different aspects in his game. 

“My coach says stuff like that because he’s always coaching me,” he said. “I really didn’t get it pointed out until coaches at colleges explained it to me. I always asked what I needed to work on going into my junior year and I got similar answers every time. 

“They told me I needed to work on fluid off the ball, shooting gaps and not the man. I really incorporated and worked on those things heading into my junior season.” 

The tips were much appreciated by Keanaaina, but the growth on film was appreciated by coaches like Mike Elston (Notre Dame) and Larry Johnson (Ohio State) as the J.K. Mullen star showed he could take coaching.

“I wanted to show the college coaches I was coachable,” said Keanaaina. “They might not be coaching me, but I can show them I can be coachable because I know they know what they are talking about.” 

When it comes to his recruitment, Keanaaina has decided to commit sooner than later. And by soon, we’re talking next week on February 13th, which is also his birthday. 

Keanaaina will only take one official visit and that will be to be the school he commits to in a week. 

“A lot of people have asked why I’m only taking one official,” explained Keanaaina. “My answer is if I’m basing my decision off of an official visit, then that’s really not what the school is to me. When you go to a college, it’s not all about the praise and everything you get on the official visit. 

“It’s going to be hard work, grinding and you’re going to wake up early. I don’t want to make my decision off of the fun part. I want to know I’m going to a school and know I’m going to be treated well on my one official visit. I’ll have fun on the visit but also know that’s not going to be what it’s really like.” 

The timeline might seem early for a prospect who holds offers from Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Colorado State, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, UCLA, USC, Wisconsin and Yale, but Keanaaina is at peace with his decision.

“It makes me comfortable because I have a rough idea what I like from the schools I’m going to choose from,” Keanaaina said. “I’ve always said I could commit now or next year, but I really want to be committed to a school I enjoy and embrace the school until I go there.

“I grew up not favoring a school. People ask me why I’m not waiting for more offers, but I’m not waiting on a specific school.”

Junior Highlights 


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