Insider Report: Kaluka Maiava

He was the "other" USC linebacker, who got the knock of being "undersized" for the NFL. In yet-another stunningly thorough Scouting Report, Dave-Te Thomas looks at Maiava's strengths, weaknesses, and potential...

KALUKA MAIAVA

Outside/Inside Linebacker

University of Southern California Trojans

#43

5:11.4-229

Wailuku, Hawaii

Baldwin High School


OVERVIEW

Maiava's versatility was both a blessing and a curse for the Trojan, as his ability to play all three linebacker positions made him a valuable reserve during his first three years at the university. Finally given the opportunity to start as a senior, he played the part of the "good soldier," quietly going about doing a stellar job while the team's other linebackers basked in the spotlight. He began his collegiate career as a strong-side linebacker. He shifted to the weak-side as a sophomore, but also saw time in the middle, along with excelling on special teams.

In each of his years playing for the Trojans, the defense continued to improve. During his freshman season, USC ranked 31st in the nation in rush defense (130.54 ypg), 48th in total defense (360.92 ypg) and 35th in scoring defense (22.85 ppg). After moving to the weak-side, where he played behind All-American, Keith Rivers (Cincinnati), Southern California improved to ninth in the nation vs. the run (91.08 ypg), 20th in total defense (295.85 ypg) and eleventh in scoring defense (15.15 ppg).

As a junior, USC continued to move up the national charts, finishing fourth vs. the run (84.15 ypg), second in total defense (273.15 ypg) and second in scoring defense (16.0 ppg) in 2007. In his final season, his first as a full-time starter, the Trojans allowed just 87.38 yards per game on the ground (fifth in the NCAA), ranking second in the country in total defense (221.77 ypg) while leading the major colleges in scoring defense (9.0 ppg).

Wrestling with ball carriers is something that seems all so natural for Kaluka, whose family tree reads like the "who's who" of the professional wrestling industry. He is the grandson of professional wrestler Neff Maiava, who was known for walking on a bed of nails that they would bring into the ring and he would walk on it. He had a renowned feud with Killer Kowalski, known as the most feared performer of his era, Neff also wrote a children's book called "Da Grouchy Moocher Boogie Man."

Neff was related to famed Hawaiian wrestler Peter Maiava, whose daughter married pro wrestler Rocky Johnson. Their son, Duane Johnson, also Kaluka's uncle, played football at Miami before gaining wide attention as professional wrestler "The Rock". Other wrestlers within Kaluka's family are the "Wild Samoans," Afa and Sika Anoai, along with Afa's three wrestling sons are Samula Anoa'i (The Great Samu), Larry Anoa'i (L.A. Smooth) and Afa Anoa'i Jr. (Afa Jr.). Junior Anoai (Afa and Sika's brother) is the father of former WWF World Champion, Yokozuna.

Afa's daughter married American wrestler Gary Albright. Jimmy Snuka, Jimmy Snuka Jr.,

Mr. Harry Fuji, Junior Maivia, The Barbarian and Haku (aka Meng) are all distantly related. In addition to the wrestling family tree, Kaluka's father, Scott Mahoney, attended and played football for Kamehameha Schools and the University of Colorado as an offensive lineman. His brother, Kai, also played football at Colorado and UCLA.

At Baldwin High School, Maiava was named Super Prep All-American, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-West, Tom Lemming All-West, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West honorable mention, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Orange County Register Fab 15, Gatorade Hawaii Player of the Year, Honolulu Advertiser All-State, All-Maui Interscholastic League Defensive Player of the Year and All-League as a senior linebacker.

In his final season, Maiava recorded 147 tackles, 39 stops for loss, eight sacks, eight forced fumbles and five blocked kicks in 2004, as well as a punt return for a touchdown.

As a junior in 2003, he was a Honolulu Advertiser All-State pick as he posted 157 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and eight sacks. He also participated in soccer and boxing at Baldwin.

As a reserve strong-side linebacker, Maiava was named Southern California's Co-Special Teams Player of the Year, in addition to capturing the Service Team Defensive Player of the Year Award. He appeared in all thirteen games, earning his first career start in the Stanford clash. He finished his freshman campaign with 20 tackles (12 solos), a fumble recovery and an interception.

In 2006, Maiava shifted to weak-side linebacker, playing in twelve games behind Keith Rivers. He sat out the season opener vs. Arkansas with a fall camp shoulder sprain, but the team's Co-Special Teams Player of the Year posted 34 tackles (15 solos) and 3.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage.

As a junior, Maiava again served as the linebacker unit's chief backup, in addition to leading the special teams squad. He started vs. Arizona State at the weak-side position, going on to record 44 tackles (26 solos) with a pair of sacks and 4.5 stops for loss. He also caused a fumble and broke up two passes.

In 2008, Maiava became the full-time starter at weak-side linebacker. The second-team All-Pac 10 Conference selection and Rose Bowl Defensive MVP registered a career-high 66 tackles (41 solos), ranking third on the team. He delivered 7.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, deflected five passes and intercepted another.

Asked what he learned from the long list of linebackers he played with at USC and Maiava replied, "I have learned a lot just watching them. How they play, how they are always in the backfield. Their passion for the ball, physically taking control, that is how I try to play."


NOTABLE PERFORMANCES

2008 Best Games Virginia, Oregon State, Oregon, Stanford, Notre Dame

2008 Worst Games Arizona State, California, UCLA

2007 Best Games Nebraska, Arizona State, UCLA, Illinois

2007 Worst Games Washington State, Arizona, Oregon

2006 Best Games Oregon State, Stanford, Oregon State

2006 Worst Games Arizona, Michigan


SCOUTING REPORT

GENERAL REPORT...GRADE-6.08

Body Structure

Maiava has a well-built upper body with well-defined muscles. He is an undersized linebacker who has the speed to possibly shift to strong safety at the next level. He is lean, yet well-developed, with a good bubble, good quadriceps and calves, low body fat and looks the part of a strong safety.

Athletic Ability

Maiava is an undersized performer with good balance, quickness, agility and playing speed. He will display a sudden burst when giving a free lane to the ball. He shows good hip flexibility, quick feet and a strong hand punch. His lack of size will sometimes negate his weight room strength, especially when he fails to deliver his hands quickly to gain separation. His frame, quickness and agility are better suited for a secondary position, but he could also prove valuable as a special team performer... GRADE-6.1

Football Sense

Maiava is quick to read and diagnose the plays. He retains plays well and shows the vision to diagnose the action behind the trenches. He has the football instincts to locate the ball near the pile and shows quick twitch movement coming off the snap...GRADE-6.3

Character

Maiava is a quiet, respectful sort. He comes from the highly respected Maiava wrestling family. He has no off-field issues and is well-liked by the other players. The coaches site his team-first attitude. He plays with a positive attitude, as he had to fight for playing time, but never complained. He was the team's top linebacker reserve until earning a starting job as a senior...GRADE-6.0

Competitiveness

Maiava is a tough competitor who plays with good effort anf motor. He is more of a chaser than a player that will step up and challenge, preferring to make plays on the outside than come up and stick his nose around the pile. It is not as if he will shy away from facing up to the offensive linemen, but his lack of bulk will see him get engulfed in the process, so he uses his quickness to slip around and avoid blocks. He has the desire to hustle from the backside and shows the speed to run a long way to make the play, striking cut blockers that get in his way...GRADE-6.0

Work Habits

Maiava shows a good work ethic in the weight room and the younger players look up to him as a leader. He works hard to stay in shape and takes well to hard coaching. He is competitive in those workouts and also in practices. The coaches would have liked to have seen him be more vocal on the field, but that is just not his style...GRADE-6.0


ATHLETIC REPORT...GRADE-5.62

Key and Diagnostic Skills

Maiava looks instinctive flowing to the ball. He has a good feel for block pressure and even though he is undersized, he has good weight room strength and does a good job od slipping past and avoiding bigger blockers on the move. He is a quick-twitch type and has the ability to break down in space, delivering crunching open field tackles. He does a nice job of taking out the lead blocker and filling the rush lanes...GRADE-6.3

Playing Strength and Explosion

Maiava might get engulfed at times by odffensive linemen, but don't be fooled by his lack of size and bulk, as he plays much stronger than he looks. He is the type of player that is more productive when he is in the open, but has the functional leg drive power to hold ground at the point of attack vs. isolated blockers. He shows good hand usage in attempts to shed and is active shooting them to throw and jerk blockers. He can get washed out on the play when he does not use his hands to protect his body. On the outside, he is a better tackler and will get physical with the running backs and tight ends...GRADE-6.1

Lateral Pursuit/Range

Maiava combines his instinctive reading ability with good range and foot speed to make plays in pursuit. When he is given a free lane into the backfield, he is quick to locate the ball. He has the the top lateral quickness and agility to slip past blockers and get more production in the backfield. He will give good effort and has the speed to make plays down the line, but he needs to use his hands better to clear trash and make the play...GRADE-5.8

Use of Hands

Maiava uses his hands well to control and shed blocks vs. tight ends and lead blockers, but lacks the bulk and arm length to stave off reach blocks when engaging offensive linemen. He does a nice job of rerouting tight ends and backs in the short area passing game, knowing how to get his hands on the opponent's jersey and not be seen by the refs. He takes good swipes with his hands when facing up to the offensive lineman, but fails to deliver enough force to rock those linemen back on their heels. He shows aggression vs. the smaller running backs and receivers, but you don't see him use his hands to stack and control when working at the line of scrimmage...GRADE-5.4

Tackling Ability

Maiava can deliver explosive hits when he connects on the move. He will get out of control and forget to break down in space, on occasion, but is a decent wrap-up tackler who shows the aggression as you'd like from a linebacker. He will get engulfed too often when taking on offensive linemen, but has decent success when asked to face up to the lead blockers in the rush lanes...GRADE-5.7

Run Defense

Maiava spends a lot of his time trying to avoid bigger blockers, which results in him not making as many inside running plays like a linebacker should. He can make some plays off stunts when working in-line, but they are few and far between. He just does not have the lower body strength or size to hold his ground firmly at the point of attack. He has the balance and foot speed to string outside running plays, where he can play with leverage to force the action back inside. With his lateral agility, he does a nice job of playing to the flow of the game...GRADE-6.0

Pass Defense

Maiava has more than enough athletic ability and quickness to mirror the receivers on deep routes, but he is better vs. plays in front of him, especially when he is able to see the "big picture" better. He does a nice job of opens his hips and moving down the line, but lacks good turning motion on the ball when engaging the tight ends and running backs outside the short area. He will not exactly get physical and play bump-and-run with them, but does stay tight on their hip and shows the ability to set and close. He is just too straight-legged and high in his stance to make plays on the ball here...GRADE-5.5

Zone Defense

Maiava is too choppy in his backpedal and false steps often coming out of his breaks. He has good timed speed, but does not display the second gear to recover when a receiver gets behind him...GRADE-5.0

Pass Rush and Blitz

This is one of his weakest areas. Despite decent timed speed, he lacks explosiveness and any sort of pass rush moves to apply pressure on the pocket (two sacks in 51 games). He will try to beat the blocker off the snap around the corner, but an athletic offensive lineman can easily slide out to neutralize him. He does not have a good counter move to use when knifing inside and it is rare to see a quarterback panic when Maiava tries to flush the passer out of the pocket...GRADE-4.8

Compares To

FREDDIE KEIAHO-Indianapolis...Like Keiaho, Maiava's ability to play a variety of linebacker positions and also perform on special teams makes him an inviting late second day pickup for a team looking for depth, but he is not starting material. He is too undersized to stand up to the rigors in the trenches. He has above average quickness, agility and decent short area pass coverage skills, but his size prevents him from generated good success playing inside the box. He lacks pass rush moves top impact the pocket, but is best playing on the move, as he gets engulfed too often when taking on offensive linemen in the trenches. He could possible shift to strong safety, but poor play in zone coverage will make him a liability there.

OVERALL GRADE-5.68


CAREER NOTES

Maiava started 15-of-51 games at Southern California, including fourteen assignments at weak-side linebacker and one on the strong-side...Recorded 164 tackles (94 solos) with two sacks for minus 11 yards, 15.5 stops for losses totaling 46 yards and one quarterback pressure...Caused and recovered a fumble...Gained 12 yards on two interceptions and deflected seven passes.


2008 SEASON

All-Pac 10 Conference second-team selection...Named Player of the Game vs. Notre Dame and selected Rose Bowl Defensive Most Valuable Player...Started all thirteen games at weak-side outside linebacker, ranking third on the team with a career-high 66 tackles (41 solos), including 7.5 stops for losses of 15 yards...Returned an interception 2 yards and deflected five passes...Part of a unit that ranked fifth in the nation in rush defense (87.38 ypg), second in total defense (221.77 ypg) while leading the major colleges in scoring defense (9.0 ppg).

2008 GAME ANALYSIS

Virginia...Maiava began his first season as a full-time starter by posting six tackles (5 solos) with a stop for a 3-yard loss...He leveled tailback Cedric Peerman for no gain on a rushing attempt at the Virginia 20 five minutes into the game for his first tackle in 2008... Tailback Mikell Simpson was stopped for a 3-yard loss by Maiava at the end of the third quarter...Defensive Impact-the defense allowed 187 total yards on 56 plays (3.34 yards per play)...The opposition completed 18-of-35 passes for 155 yards, with one interception.

Ohio State...Maiava had just three tackles in a 35-3 victory, but one stopped QB Terrelle Pryor for a 5-yard loss on a first-&-goal bootleg in the first quarter, as OSU eventually settled for a 29-yard field goal to salvage some points on their only scoring drive for the game...Defensive Impact-the defense allowed 207 total yards on 64 plays (3.23 yards per play)...The opposition completed 21-of-30 passes for 136 yards, with two interceptions.

Oregon State...The weak-side linebacker registered a career-high eleven tackles (7 solos) with a pass break-up in a 27-21 upset loss...He also leveled tailback Jacquizz Rodgers behind the line of scrimmage late in the second quarter...Defensive Impact- the defense allowed 343 total yards on 73 plays (4.70 yards per play)...The opposition completed 18-of-28 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns.

Oregon...Maiava followed with eight tackles (4 solos), making five of those stops in pass coverage...Defensive Impact- the defense allowed 239 total yards on 72 plays (3.32 yards per play)...The opposition carried 29 times for 60 yards (2.07 ypc) and one touchdown.

Washington State...The weak-side linebacker posted four tackles (2 solos), including one that took down Chantz Staden for a 2-yard loss on a third-&-4 run, bringing out the WSU punting unit in the first quarter...Defensive Impact-the defense held the opposition to 88 yards on 37 carries (2.38 ypc) and allowed 116 total yards on 46 plays (2.52 yards per play).

Washington...Maiava made five tackles (3 solos) that included stopping tailback Brandon Johnson for a 2-yard loss...Defensive Impact-the defense held the opposition to 71 yards on 30 carries (2.37 ypc) and allowed 184 total yards on 63 plays (2.92 yards per play).

Notre Dame...The senior linebacker earned Player of the Game honors, as he picked off a pass, registered five solo tackles and had a stop behind the line of scrimmage...In the second quarter, he picked off a Jimmy Clausen pass at the USC 43, setting up a 55-yard touchdown run by Trojans tailback Joe McKnight that staked USU to a 14-0 lead... Defensive Impact-the defense held the opposition to 50 yards on 27 carries (1.85 ypc) and allowed 91 total yards on 49 plays (1.86 yards per play).

Penn State (Rose Bowl)...Named the game Defensive MVP after he collected four solo tackles and broke up a pair of passes in a 38-24 victory...The Nittany Lions' game opening drive ended with a punt after Maiava deflected a third-&-7 pass away from receiver Deon Butler...Defensive Impact-the defense held the opposition to 137 yards on 29 carries (4.72 ypc) and allowed 410 total yards on 66 plays (6.21 yards per play).


2007 SEASON

Maiava continued to lead the special team units while also playing behind Keith Rivers at weak-side linebacker...Started vs. Arizona State and appeared in all thirteen games, as he recorded 44 tackles (26 solos) with two sacks for minus 11 yards, 4.5 stops for losses of 18 yards and one quarterback pressure...Caused one fumble and deflected a pair of passes...Part of a squad that finished fourth in the nation vs. the run (84.15 ypg), second in total defense (273.15 ypg) and second in scoring defense (16.0 ppg) in 2007.

2007 GAME HIGHLIGHTS

Registered seven tackles (5 solos), stopping QB Sam Keller on a bootleg behind the line of scrimmage vs. Nebraska...Had five tackles in each of the Stanford and Notre Dame contests...In his only starting assignment, Maiava recorded a season-high ten tackles (6 solos) and took down tailback Keenan Herring for a 2-yard loss vs. Arizona State...Had four tackles with a pair of stops behind the line of scrimmage, including a 5-yard sack vs. UCLA...Delivered three solo tackles with a 6-yard sack of QB Juice Williams, causing a fumble on the play vs. Illinois in the Rose Bowl.


2006 SEASON

Recipient of USC's Co-Special Teams Player of the Year Award...Played in the final twelve games at weak-side outside linebacker, as the reserve missed the season opener vs. Arkansas after he suffered a shoulder sprain in August camp...Finished with 34 tackles (15 solos) and 3.5 stops for losses totaling 13 yards...Helped the team rank ninth in the nation vs. the run (91.08 ypg), 20th in total defense (295.85 ypg) and eleventh in scoring defense (15.15 ppg).

2006 GAME HIGHLIGHTS

Had a stop for a 6-yard loss vs. Washington and made three hits in each of the Arizona State and Washington State contests...Posted a season-high eight tackles with a stop for a loss vs. Oregon State...Added six tackles (2 solos) in each of the next two games vs. Stanford and Oregon...Took down tailback Marshawn Lynch for a 5-yard loss in the California clash.


2005 SEASON

Named USC's Co-Special Teams Player of the Year and Service Team Defensive Player of the Year...Played in thirteen games at strong-side outside linebacker, starting vs. Stanford...Produced 20 tackles (12 solos) with a 10-yard interception return and a fumble recovery...USC ranked 31st in the nation in rush defense (130.54 ypg), 48th in total defense (360.92 ypg) and 35th in scoring defense (22.85 ppg).

2005 GAME HIGHLIGHTS

Made four tackles in each of the Stanford and UCLA games4...Added three hits and a 10-yard interception return that set up a USC touchdown drive vs. Arkansas...Recovered a fumble to set up a Trojans touchdown drive vs. Texas.


INJURY REPORT

2006-Did not play vs. Arkansas (9/02) after suffering a shoulder sprain in August camp.

2008-Missed most of spring drills after having wrist and thumb surgery.

2009-Could not complete agility tests at the NFL Combine due to a right knee sprain.


AGILITY TESTS

4.70 in the 40-yard dash...1.56 10-yard dash...2.71 20-yard dash...4.20 20-yard shuttle...

6.98 three-cone drill...34-inch vertical jump...9'2" broad jump...Bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times...29 ½-inch arm length...9 ¼-inch hands.


HIGH SCHOOL


Attended Baldwin (Wailuku, Hi.) High School, earning Super Prep All-American, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-West, Tom Lemming All-West, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West honorable mention, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Orange County Register Fab 15, Gatorade Hawaii Player of the Year, Honolulu Advertiser All-State, All-Maui Interscholastic League Defensive Player of the Year and All-League honors as a senior linebacker...Recorded 147 tackles, 39 stops for loss, eight sacks, eight forced fumbles and five blocked kicks in 2004, as well as a punt return for a touchdown...As a junior in 2003, he was a Honolulu Advertiser All-State pick as he posted 157 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and eight sacks...Also participated in soccer and boxing at Baldwin.


PERSONAL

Sociology major...Grandson of professional wrestler Neff Maiava...Neff was related to famed Hawaiian wrestler Peter Maiava, whose daughter married pro wrestler Rocky Johnson. Their son, Duane Johnson, also Kaluka's uncle, played football at Miami before gaining wide attention as professional wrestler "The Rock"...Kaluka's father, Scott Mahoney, attended and played football for Kamehameha Schools and the University of Colorado as an offensive lineman...Brother, Kai, also played football at Colorado and UCLA...Born 3/22/87...Resides in Wailuku, Hawaii.


The OBR Top Stories