Prospects

Prospects
Photo of Kaluka Maiava
Kaluka Maiava (ILB)
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 229
College: USC
Conference: Pac-12
Hometown: Wailuku, HI
High School: Baldwin
Featured Prospects
Selected by: Cleveland Browns
Round: 4
Pick (Overall): 4 (104)
Discuss
Pick Analysis: When all of the NFL teams went to USC to look at the other USC LBs (Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews, Rey Maualuga), they all left thinking that Maiava deserved to be in the NFL as well. He can play on the weakside or strongside and will be on every special teams unit. He can come in after holding a clipboard and know the entire playbook. He was wanted by a lot of teams.
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis
Overview

Maiava's versatility was both a blessing and a curse for the Trojans, 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. 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 13 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 12 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, Maiava said, "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."


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.


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Analysis

Positives: Shorter than scouts would like, but has a solid build with room for additional growth. ... Instinctive defender. ... Reads the action and puts himself in position to make the play. ... Good lateral agility. ... Can elude blockers and break down in space to make the open-field tackle. ... Gets good depth on his pass drops and is a cognizant pass defender. ... Reads the quarterback's eyes and gets a good break on the ball to break up the pass. ... Good special-teams performer.


Negatives: Lacks the bulk to hold up at the point of attack. ... Can be washed out by athletic tackles. ... Relies on his agility to avoid blockers, as he struggles to disengage. ... Only has one season as the starter. ... Surrounded by so much talent at USC that his mistakes were minimized. ... Missed time during spring drills prior to the 2008 season due to surgery on his thumb and wrist.


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 generating 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.


Injury Report

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


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


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