Stanford offer makes it 15 for Punahou LB Kahanu Kia

Punahou outside linebacker Kahanu Kia (8) returned an interception for a touchdown against Kamehameha in a 2019 matchup at Aloha Stadium. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Kahanu Kia will always remember this month of September.

On Wednesday, a day after Notre Dame made a scholarship offer to the Punahou senior, Stanford came up with an offer of its own.

“It’s all good. It’s definitely exciting. Man, I like everything about Stanford. It’s the best in the business. They have everything academically and athletically. They have everything,” the 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior said on Thursday afternoon.

Former Punahou defensive back Alaka‘i Gilman plays for Stanford.

“Alaka‘i, I texted him today. He’s super excited and he wasn’t trying to sell it too much, but he loves it there and he thinks I would love it there, too,” Kia said.

Kia’s list of 15 offers include other Pac-12 Conference universities: Utah, Washington State, Arizona and UCLA. The playmaking inside linebacker has a 3.5 grade-point average, which is a big reason why Ivy League schools Princeton, Dartmouth and Penn extended opportunities.

It is also a factor in the lack of relocation for Punahou student-athletes. While other schools have seen seniors, juniors and sophomores transfer to Utah and Idaho, there have been no departures among the Buffanblu.

“It’s hard at my school. You really cannot (leave). Especially with COVID. I wouldn’t want to anyway,” Kia said. “No transfers. You work super hard to get into Punahou, anyone does. It’s really tough to get in, but once you get in, it’s really something. People here really appreciate the value of this education. They’re not willing to give it up.”

With the Hawaii high school football season postponed to early 2021, fall semester is a different world. Online classes. Workouts at home. Plenty of time to consider options. Kia plans to be patient.

“Both my parents (Emmalei and Nate) just give me their thoughts, but they know ultimately the decision’s up to me after much prayer,” he said. “I kind of want to see how this whole dead period is going for recruiting to see if there’s any chance I can visit. Once they say there will be no visits before signing day, then I’m planning to work on making a decision. I think I’ll be committed before December, before Christmas.”

The NCAA’s early-period letter-of-intent signing day for Division I football is Dec. 16. The regular period signing day is Feb. 3. There has not been any consideration of delaying the dates though many states, including California, have postponed football season.

“I think (a delay) it would be a plus especially for guys who have no offers yet. It gives them time to play and get some film,” Kia said.

He is not expecting more offers. There isn’t any contact with schools beyond the 15 that are on his list.

“No one really. It’s kind of been like that. No one’s in touch with me, and then they’ll call a couple weeks before,” Kia said.

Utah, the first program to make an offer, has a fan in Kia’s grandmother, Wendy.

“She is a huge Nebraska and Utah fan. Utah because my dad went there,” Kia said. “I think they might have family from Nebraska. My grandma on my mom’s side (Tawna Chun), she would like wherever I play. She might like BYU or Utah State little more than anyone else.”

Offers: 15

Utah 9/14/19

Washington State 10/28/19, reoffer 1/27/20

Princeton 2/12/20

Dartmouth 2/19/20

Hawaii 2/20/20

Utah State 2/21/20

Penn 2/22/20

San Diego State 3/17/20

UNLV 3/25/20

Arizona 4/8/20

Fresno State 4/14/20

UCLA 6/16/20

Notre Dame 9/1/20

Stanford 9/2/20


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