There’s a feeling that Hau’oli Kikaha is going to be one of those “I told you so” picks.
ESPN is reporting that Kikaha, the former University of Washington outside linebacker, was selected with the 44th pick in the second round by the New Orleans Saints. The six-foot-two, 253-pound Kikaha recorded an insane 19 sacks last year. Kikaha recorded 13 in 2013.
Kikaha’s first name, Hau’oli, is Hawaiian for “happy,” according to his mother, Dawn. Kikaha certainly has had his happiness tested so severely in his young adulthood.
Kikaha first met his father at a judo tournament when he was 16. Kikaha was competing; his father was coaching someone else. Though Kikaha collected 32 sacks in the last two years, his time in the 40-yard dash during the NFL combines was 4.9 seconds. The biggest reason he went in the second round and not the first is because of a devastating knee injury that required two separate surgeries.
Kikaha started the first four games as a freshman in 2011. He suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, requiring Kikaha to redshirt his freshman year, which was granted. As Kikaha was preparing for his sophomore year, the left knee ACL tore again, requiring yet another surgery. This time, Kikaha lost the entire 2012 season. When he got back for his junior year, he rededicated himself to his craft and began a dominant campaign.
CBS Sports is reporting that Kikaha may not have the speed, according to a 40-yard dash, but he does have quickness and power, always getting to the opposing quarterback. He is also able to “bend the edge,” which is the ability to get around the offensive line protection and get into the quarterback. He is known to have a never-stopping motor. Many pundits are saying if his ability to get to the quarterback in a powerful manner, he will be the steal of the draft. CBS football analyst Pete Prisco gave the Saints an A-minus for their pick.
The Saints passed up on Randy Gregory, former outside linebacker for Nebraska. At one point, Gregory was his own worst enemy, testing positive for marijuana during the NFL Combines in Indianapolis (not before, or after, during!). Gregory then watches his stock fall, Kikaha watched his remain steady. There’s a good chance Kikahas’s motor will be going for quite a long time.
Kikaha did one thing that proves how he feels about his mother. To honor his mother before the 2013 season, he took the Kikaha name from his mother and removed his previous last name, Jamora, his father’s surname.
[Image courtesy of UW dawgpound]