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.
Kahanu Kia, Linebacker
Kahanu Kia committed to the Irish on November 19, 2020 as a member of the 2021 recruiting class. Kia selected Notre Dame over offers from Arizona, Hawaii, Stanford, UCLA, and Utah, among others. Per 247Sports Composite Rankings, Kia held a 3-star rating. He was ranked as the 5th best player in Hawaii, the 65th best linebacker in the country, and the 593rd best overall player in the class of 2020. He attended Punahou School, and his hometown is Kaneohe, Hawaii. Kia currently stands 6’1’’ and weighs 210 pounds.
Due the COVID-19 pandemic, Kia’s senior season was canceled. During his junior campaign in 2019, Kia recorded 64 total tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and defended 4 passes. In what has become a bit of a pipeline to Notre Dame in recent years, Kia became the 4th player from Punahou School to join the Irish football program, joining Marist Liufau, Manti Te’o, and Robby Toma. Of note, Kia plans to take his 2-year Mormon mission following the completion of his freshman year at Notre Dame and return back for the 2024 season.
The Restaurant That Fits
Both Kia and Yard House originated from the West Coast but migrated east. Yard House moved its headquarters to Orlando, and Kia will reside in South Bend. Yard House is exotic in the sense that each restaurant is equipped with over 100 drafts on tap, while Kia hails from arguably the most exotic state in the USA. To me, both also possess an air of mystery. Kia’s intrigue comes from the fact that he has not played organized football in over a year, and Yard House’s intrigue comes from never having been in an establishment with such a grandiose beer list.
Kahanu Kia’s best route to playing time in 2021 is on special teams. Kia did not arrive on campus until June and realistically sits behind Shayne Simon and Marist Liufau at the Will linebacker (presumably). Even if Kia cross-trains at different positions at linebacker, there is simply too much depth at the position for him to realistically have a shot at defensive playing time.