The COVID-19 lockdown didn’t stop Liona Lefau from grinding.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound sophomore-to-be kept working on and off the field, and the results are rewarding. Wisconsin offered a football scholarship to the 6-foot-2, 205-pound linebacker. This makes two offers; Utah made an offer to the sophomore-to-be last week while he and his Team Rager Wear 7v7 team travelled through Utah and Nevada.
The Wisconsin offer came with plenty of solid vetting by Badgers assistant coach Inoke Breckterfield. Lefau’s father, Pesa, grew up in Laie with Breckterfield. Lefau’s uncle, Toalei Talataina, played at Oregon State with Breckterfield. Lefau’s 7v7 head coach, Hana Ahn, played with Breckterfield at Damien.
“My uncle reached out to Coach Inoke and sent him my film, and Coach Inoke said he liked what he’s seen,” Lefau said on Wednesday afternoon.”
Lefau grew up in Laie, then moved with his family to California for eighth grade at Winners Circle Academy (Corona, Calif.) and ninth grade at JSerra. Then, the family moved back to Hawaii. When he begins classes at Kahuku, he carries a 3.6 grade-point average.
“We moved there for more exposure, to get more looks from colleges,” Lefau said. “I felt like California football has a lot to offer. There’s way more exposure, but as long as we go to camps in the summer, we’ll get some looks, and if we ball out this season.”
Team Rager Wear, his 7v7 squad, participated in a Level Up Elite camp prior to its Pylon tournament in Utah.
“Coach Inoke liked that tape, too. He was in touch with my coaches (at Kahuku),” said Lefau, who was surprised to get a phone call on Wednesday morning. “They never texted me on Twitter or anything. I had no idea. He called us and asked about my tape. He said they don’t usually offer younger guys. He asked what I knew (about Wisconsin), and I said I knew (former Saint Louis linebacker Nick) Herbig, how he chose Wisconsin over other schools. Coach said they produce a lot of players who play in the NFL, and that’s what I want to do one day. Then offered me.”
The Utah offer came via Utes defensive line coach Lewis Powell.
“My good friend, Kaikai (Kainoa Carvalho), his dad, Coach Stu (Carvalho) knows Coach Powell. I followed him (Powell) on Twitter before and sent my stuff, but they didn’t reply when I was younger. When we went up to Utah, Coach Stu talked to him about me. I sent my film and right after the 7v7 tournament, he gave Coach Stu a call and that’s when they offered me,” Lefau recalled.
With Pac-12 and Big-10 offers, the momentum is just beginning.
“Honestly, I would go anywhere if I get a free education and they take care of me. They make me feel like I’m home, I’m fine,” Lefau said. “They were both surprising offers. I wasn’t really expecting them. My parents are just happy. That was the first offer we ever got in our family.”
Lefau has been steadfast in his training. His family home has a bench press and a squat rack. He has reached 365 on the squat as younger brothers Toalei and Malosi, plus his dad, help with spotting. He has reached 255 on the bench press. Sunday is his only day off.
“I’ve been lifting every day since the quarantine began. I’m trying to gain weight and get stronger every day,” he said.
Cardio work is with friends.
“We run all over. In the back (of Laie), on the beach, up to the water tank. It’s a nice place to run, just me, Leonard Ah You and Kaikai,” he said.
Top 3 food/drinks
1. Peanut butter jelly sandwich. “Whenever I’m hungry. It’s a go-to.”
2. Whey protein shake, chocolate and vanilla. “They’re both good. I add peanut butter, bananas, ice.”
3. Yogurt and granola. “I can’t really eat those separate.”
Top 3 shows/movies
1. “The Last Dance.” I like watching sports documentaries. There’s a lot of advice (from Michael Jordan).”
2. OC-16. “I like to watch the throwback games, like my dad when he played in 1993 for Kahuku. That’s the first time I saw him play. He was an outside linebacker and they put him at running back sometimes. I think he had two sacks against Waianae. That was the game they lost to Waianae in the OIA (playoffs).”
3. YouTube. “I’m watching all the NFL and college players, their lifestyle, how they live in college. I like to watch it because that’s where I’m trying to go. It’s good to know how they live. Training videos and life away from football.”
Lefau: “I’ve been trying to learn some new songs on the uke. I know how to play a little bit, but I’m trying some new songs. My favorite ukulele player is Moke Boy.”
Lefau: “For training, Coach Sola (Soliai). He’s been training with me since I was young. My parents. In Cali, we’ve got Winners’ Circle. They treated me good there. Coach Hana of (Team) Rager Wear. Coach Stu (of Kahuku) helped me to get the Utah offer. He has a lot of connections. There’s a lot of people who helped me get to where I am right now, and still a lot of people helping me.”
Congratulations!!! This is huge and still got more on the way! This kid works hard, got talent and size and good character, Pesa and Summer you raised him right! So happy for you Liona and can’t wait to watch you beast it this next season! Glad you back home playing for us…RED RAIDER FOR LIFE!
Congrats young man, I’ve watch some 7 on 7 and you looked awesome. Also spoke with some peeps who said that you did awesome in the camps. Keep doing your thing. Not only are you making the whole north shore and Laie community proud, but also Hawaii.
Long over due for this Family. His two older brothers were athletes as well. Congratulations on the recognition and opportunity at a free education.