Notre Dame gets the letter: Hawaiian linebacker Kahanu Kia

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KAHANU KIA
Punahou High School; Honolulu.
Measurements: 6’2”, 205 lbs.
Accolades: The Polynesian Bowl invitee and consensus three-star recruit is the No. 37 outside linebacker in the class, per rivals.com.

Other Notable Offers: Notre Dame does not often recruit against Utah, but considering Kia’s father played for the Utes in the mid-90s, the tug-of-war made sense. Playing for Utah was Kia’s childhood dream, but playing for the Irish would mean playing for the Irish and following in the footsteps of former high school teammate and current Notre Dame sophomore Marist Liufau, as well as those of his former assistant coach and former Irish receiver Robby Toma.

“It was kind of hard coming to grips with, ‘Dang, I’m not going to the place I always thought I was going to go to, my childhood dream school,’” Kia told Carter Karels of the South Bend Tribune. “But at the end of the day, it’s a business.”

Projected Position: Kia has the body to play middle linebacker, but with more coverage skills than usually found there. In that respect, some comparisons to Bo Bauer may be applicable, though Kia is already more disciplined than Bauer was early in his career.

Quick Take: “Early” in a career is relative, as the 2021 season will, in some ways, represent Kia’s sophomore year of high school. After this coming season, Kia intends to take a two-year mission as a practicing member of The Church of Latter-Day Saints. He will then return in 2024 as a college sophomore.

Short-Term Roster Outlook: That delay makes it impossible to project much about Kia’s career, aside from the fact that he is almost assuredly not going to appear in more than four games in 2021, thus preserving a year of eligibility for his return.

Long-View Depth Chart Impact: Kia will return to a different roster in 2024, but this much is certain: He’ll be more mature than most college sophomores. Perhaps some time will be needed in the weight room to regain football fitness during the two-year hiatus, but Kia’s long-term projections should bode well with the added time.

SIGNING DAY COVERAGE
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A Signing Day surprise: Consensus four-star RB Audric Estime, flipped from Michigan State
Consensus four-star QB Tyler Buchner
Trio of four-star WRs in Lorenzo Styles, Deion Colzie and Jayden Thomas
Five-star offensive tackle Blake Fisher and four-star guard Rocco Spindler
Consensus four-star LB Prince Kollie, the day’s greatest worry
Hawaiian LB Kahanu Kia
Cornerbacks Philip Riley and Ryan Barnes
Three-star cornerbacks JoJo Johnson and Chance Tucker
Consensus three-star safety Justin Walters
Tight ends Cane Berrong and Mitchell Evans
Consensus four-star defensive tackle Gabriel Rubio
Pair of California defensive ends, Will Schweitzer and Devin Aupiu
Three more offensive linemen in Caleb Johnson, Pat Coogan & Joe Alt
Inexperienced defensive end Jason Onye
Kicker Joshua Bryan