LB Kahanu Kia

Staff reports
ND Insider
Honolulu Punahou School's Kahanu Kia, a three-star linebacker in the 2021 recruiting class, verbally committed to Notre Dame on Nov. 19, 2020.

LB Kahanu Kia, 6-1, 210; Honolulu Punahou School

Rivals ranking: Three stars, No. 37 outside linebacker.

247Sports ranking: Three stars, No. 60 outside linebacker, No. 934 overall.

Notable numbers: 54.5 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, five quarterback hurries, four pass breakups, three sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a touchdown across 12 games as a junior last season. Punahou School did not play football this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enrolled early? No.

Birthday: Aug. 27, 2002.

First scholarship offer: Utah.

Moment I knew I wanted to be Irish: “There were two times. When I was on campus, I really felt like it was awesome. Then when I got to the place where we were staying in LA, I had this feeling. I was like, ‘Wow, I think I want to go to Notre Dame.’ The day before I committed when we were talking about it, it was a tough decision. But I talked to my parents. After that, it really felt strong. Then the next day, I made it official.”

What I’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic: “So many things. First and foremost my family and being with them. I’ve never spent this much quality time with them. It has been so awesome. It changed our lives forever. We got so much closer to our family. Going back to normal and not seeing everyone as often, that’s going to be weird now. Definitely that and going to church. Now that you weren’t able to go every Sunday and get that spiritual refill, it was weird. I just learned to appreciate a lot of things.”

One word to describe Brian Kelly: “Leader. He’s a perfect example of a leader. He has been there for how long? And he’s had to adapt. He’s had to change. But that is what leaders do. To stay there that long, keep everyone focused and have everyone’s attention through that long of a coaching tenure is amazing.”

Best player I’ve played against: Washington State freshman quarterback Jayden de Laura (2020 class) and Utah freshman offensive tackle Solatoa Moea’I (2020 class).

Most interesting fact about myself: Born and raised in Hawaii.

Most embarrassing song on my playlist: “When You Believe” — Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.

Most controversial opinion: “XBOX is better than PlayStation.”

Dream job (other than the NFL): “Coaching is up there, but working for Nike and Under Armour and being in brand marketing for an NFL or college football team. Making their uniforms and thing like that.”

NFL player comparison: Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard and San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner.

Freshman year expectations: “I want to work as hard as I can and get on the field and contribute as soon as possible.”

Favorite thing about football: “The relationships you build. And in the game itself, the physicality of it. Getting to hit someone. It’s a violent sport. It’s an all-around fun, violent sport to play. That is what I love about it.”

What’s your best sport other than football? “Geez I don’t know. Video games? I’m not too good of a basketball player. I’m not good at track either. I’ll just say track.”

Sports idol: Former Philadelphia Eagles safety Brian Dawkins.

Preferred social media: Twitter.

Favorite musician/band: Bob Marley and Kapena.

Favorite TV show: “The Mandalorian.”

Favorite movie: “Nacho Libre.”

Celebrity crush: None.

How many times have you watched Rudy? “Only once. It was the day after I got offered (in September).”