Utah Utes 2021 Recruit Kahanu Kia Highlights

Ryan Kostecka

With the NCAA extending the recruiting dead period all the way until June 30, now is an extremely important to continue to connect with recruits via phone, text, facetime, etc.

Any chance that Utah coaches have to be in contact with recruits, they must take full advantage of it for the upcoming 2021 class as only Peter Costelli (4*, QB) and Tevita Fotu (JC, DL) are the only commits thus far. Creating relationships with the prospects and setting up on-campus visits for when the dead period ends will be vital if head coach Kyle Whittingham and his staff want to build on the success of the program's greatest recruiting class when the Utes finished with the No. 29 class in the country last year.

"We feel really good about this class," Whittingham said after the singing of the 2020 class. "Our net has been cast fairly wide now and we have guys from all over the country. More than anything though, we are now able to stand toe-to-toe and win some of these battles with high profile schools. If you look at our recruits and their offers, we are beating some really good schools - schools we couldn't even be in the conversation with six or seven years ago."

Now we are going to look at some of Utah's top targets in the 2021 class...

*3-star, Outside Linebacker
*6-foot-2, 205-pounds
*Punahou HS — Honolulu, HI

When looking at Kia, Utah isn't expecting the three-star prospect to come in right away and start for the Utes. Rather they are evaluating him based on the potential he possesses in a year or two down the road, and that is very high.

Kia lacks ideal size for an outside linebacker as of now, but if he puts on some weight he could really fill out the rest of his frame. He's already an athletic specimen, testing off the charts and showcasing very good bend and the ability to play on coverage. 

He does need to get a little more physical as that part of his game hasn't quite caught up to his instincts, but the expectation is that with more time it will happen. He shows natural ability to shed blockers and is highly regarded for his mental preparation to the game.

Utah signed two three-star outside linebackers in the 2020 class; JC transfer Jeremy Mercier and Graham Faloona — stating how inexperienced Utah is at the linebacker position. Expected starters Devin Lloyd and Sione Lund are going to be juniors this season while backups include Mercier (Junior), senior Nephi Sewell and sophomore Andrew Mata’afa.

In the end, Kia is a kid who could really break out once he hits his sophomore or junior season of college — very similar to what's expected out of defensive end Mika Tafua this upcoming season for the Utes. Utah is very high on his list and at this point in his recruitment, it would be somewhat surprising if he didn't end up in Salt Lake City when it's all said and done.