HAWAII GROWN: Kana’i Mauga to make first start at USC

Kahuku’s Enoch Nawahine tried to catch a pass but was interfered with by Waianae’s Kana'i Mauga in 2017. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

2017 Honolulu Star-Advertiser defensive player of the year Kana’i Mauga will make his first collegiate start today against Arizona.

Mauga, a Waianae grad, will start in the place of injured linebacker Palaie Gaoteote, according to 24/7 sports.

Mauga started his college career as an outside linebacker and will start on the weakside while veteran John Houston slides over to Gaoteote’s spot in the middle.

“IE has not practiced this week, still in the boot,” coach Clay Helton said. “So we will go with Kana’i.”

Mauga has been working as an inside linebacker this year after compiling 14 tackles in 12 games as an outside linebacker last year.

Mauga beat out Faatui Tuitele of Saint Louis and Kahuku linebacker Miki Ah You for the Star-Advertiser’s defensive player of the year award in 2017. He was an early enrollee at USC following the football season.

Gaoteote is currently third on the team in total tackles with 47 to go along with two tackles for a loss.

“He’s come a long way,” Gaoteote said of Mauga in the fall. “I mean just the transition from the outside to the inside and just his ability to just play both spots. I mean he’s come far and this is growth, since we both came in day one. I mean, I’ve been with him at the same time, but his growth is definitely something that I see and that I’m very proud of.”


  1. ??? October 19, 2019 12:10 pm

    Palaie, Kana’i & Jordan Iosefa are all Beast!!

  2. Hau’ulaBoy October 19, 2019 2:12 pm

    Way to represent!!! Great to have these boys carry the flag of their home state. So all can see what the state of Hawai’i has to offer. Not just a beautiful state, but we have football warriors out here too.

  3. Hau’ulaBoy October 19, 2019 2:27 pm

    Beautiful picture up top, but why they had to put picture of PI. Haha. And how’s the black shoes with white socks. Haha. Does Waianae new coach still implement this rule. No shoe company makes all black shoes anymore so all the Waianae kids gotta use black permanent marker. Too funny.

  4. Emperor Porter November 7, 2020 6:33 am

    These Boys are Samoans not Hawaiians.

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