HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Punahou’s Kahanu Kia makes it official, the three-star linebacker signed his National Letter of Intent to play for the University of Notre Dame.
A long journey for the senior, who can finally relax now that his letter is officially signed.
“I’m extremely grateful and blessed to be in this position, I wouldn’t trade it for nothing, but it was kind of stressful coming down the stretch.” Kia told Hawaii News Now. “It’s a big decision, it’s one of the biggest decisions I’ve ever made, so I felt there was some pressure, but just to put that pen to paper it was a relief.”
Kia is joining a Notre Dame squad that is currently ranked second in the country with a undefeated 10-0 record, but it wasn’t the accolades that attracted Buff’n’Blu to South Bend, it was the sense of family that felt like home.
“It’s one of the best schools on and off of the field, you know in football and in the classroom with my degree.” Kia said. “It’s kind of cliche, they always say when you’re in South Bend or Notre Dame you feel it, but it was so true, like we just felt the sense of community and family up there, so with all of that together, I felt like this was the place for me and I’ve got to go here.”
Coming from Punahou, Kia joins a group of local linebackers that suited up for the Fighting Irish, the likes of Manti Te’o and Marist Liufau, a distinction that he does not take lightly.
“Now that I look back on it, it’s pretty crazy that i’m one of the Punahou linebackers to go to Notre Dame, from Manti to Marist, you know it’s something you kind of got to live up to.” Kia said. “It’s kind of an expectation to be a physical player that’s going to play and you’ve got to be a stud, so i’m excited but I know I have to put in work and you have to live up to that standard that those guys set.”
For the Irish, they are set to face Clemson in the ACC championship, Notre Dame usually plays as an independent without conference affiliation, but due to the pandemic the Irish joined the ACC — going undefeated in conference.