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, once again, 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 2021 season.
#35 Marist Liufau, LB
Next up for the Fighting Irish is Redshirt Sophomore LB, Marist Liufau, out of Kalihi, Hawaii. He came in pretty significantly undersized, but had awesome high school tape that highlighted his speed and ferocity and the point of attack. He came from a legendary high school that has produced players like Manti, Alohi Gilman, MTA, and Robbie Toma among others. It is clear that guys from there have a specific work ethic and mentality as humans and athletes. As a true freshman, he was able to take advantage of the 4 game redshirt rule, playing in major games including Georgia, Michigan, Virginia, and USC. This shows that he was ready to contribute all years on special teams, but the coaches preferred to preserve a year of eligibility as they saw him as still needing more strength to play at LB.
In 2020, he started the first game against Duke, rotating with Shayne Simon. He had a solid debut, but then was out for some time due to covid protocols. This derailed his season a bit, but he was a constant force when he was playing, showing speed and a total lack of fear blitzing. He made plenty of mistakes, but he always did so going full speed. The highlight of his season came against North Carolina with 5 tackles, a tackle for loss, and plenty of pressures.
Notre Dame LB Marist Liufau (35) showing off his speed, athleticism and power. He's getting comfortable, which is good news for the defense. pic.twitter.com/2ActCqKQAu— Matt Freeman (@mattfreemanISD) December 2, 2020
He uses speed, power, and leverage to hit the running back, forcing the QB out of the pocket, and then completes the sack. Textbook. He has an incredibly high ceiling and Marcus Freeman will work on the small details for him to be a very legit LB for the Irish this year.
The Restaurant That Fits
Zippy’s (chain in Hawaii)
I have never been to Hawaii, but lived in Southern California for 2 years and was fortunate enough to be close with a few Polynesian families. The food they would cook for me was incredible and looking up Zippy’s reminded me of that. Spams, Sausages, Rice, and tons more. Figured I’d show some local love with this chain!
Liufau will head into 2021 as a rotational LB at Buck alongside Shayne Simon. Both have extensive experience and plenty of athleticism. Simon showed a better knack for the defense last year, but Liufau showed much more explosion and production. I expect them to split reps throughout the year, but Liufau will be very hard to keep off the field. Even while rotating, he will be a staple on all special teams units. He is very hard to miss with his wild hair as he plays like it is actually on fire. Here is to hoping this clip from the Spring will be a sign of things to come in 2021
Notre Dame working on being backed up at its goal line. Jack Coan hands off to Chris Tyree. And Marist Liufau is absolutely untouched flying through the A gap by Notre Dame's first-team offensive line. It's one play. It's spring ball. But still, that's an eye-opener. pic.twitter.com/1eWh5ukOe1— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) April 24, 2021