The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a roster full of players, and we want to talk about them all. One Foot Down’s player profile series will take a look at every single one of them, and hopefully we all learn a little bit more about these guys, and Notre Dame’s chances for the upcoming 2020 season.
#35 Marist Liufau, Linebacker
Marist Liufau committed to the Irish on November 14, 2018 and signed with the program in late December. Despite getting in on the recruitment late, Brian Polian and Clark Lea tag teamed the effort to lure Liufau to South Bend. He chose Notre Dame over offers from Oregon, USC, and Washington State. Per 247Sports Composite Rankings, Liufau was a 3 star recruit. He was rated as the 6th best player in Hawaii and the 28th best outside linebacker in the class of 2019. Liufau grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii and attended Punahou High School, the same high school that Manti Te’o attended. He currently stands 6’ 2’’ and weighs 213 lbs.
In 2019, Liufau’s main contributions came on special teams. The staff thought so highly of him that he was earmarked for usage in the 4 biggest of the season against Georgia, Virginia, USC, and Michigan. Liufau did not log any statistics on defense. As a result of only playing in 4 games last season, he retained his redshirt season.
Hawaiian Monk Seal
The Hawaiian Monk Seal is one of only two native mammals in the state of Hawaii and only one of two monk seal species left in the world. As the state mammal, the Monk Seal holds a reverence among the Hawaiian people. When I envision a seal, I envision an animal that is graceful and athletic in the ocean. Though Liufau plays on land, he possesses similar qualities while playing football.
Marist Liufau’s role heading into the 2020 season is a bit murky. It is safe to assume he will be an integral member on most, if not all, of the special team units. How much he will contribute on defense remains to be seen. Currently, Liufau is sitting 2nd on the depth chart behind Jordan Genmark-Heath at the Buck Linebacker. Losing all but one practice this spring certainly hurt his chances of unseating Genmark-Heath. However, after playing cornerback throughout high school, Liufau possesses some of the best coverage ability within the position group. His combination of athleticism and willingness to attack the line of scrimmage could make up for his lack of ideal size for the position. Even if he does not start, Liufau figures to be a rotational piece at the position, capable of providing quality snaps when called upon.