Seau Maiava is a company man.
The speedy outside linebacker from Kahuku took the field in St. George, Utah, for his Highlight-Hawaii Silver team on Friday as 11v11 scrimmages began.
Three games later, the 6-foot, 200-pound senior had accumulated 16 sacks — as a defensive end on the strong side. Maiava’s performance earned co-MVP honors as a DE in the PTP Sports National Showcase on Saturday. He and fellow Highlight-Hawaii D-end Tevarua Tafiti were among the three defensive ends honored. In all, 10 Highlight-Hawaii players earned honors.
“Outside linebacker is my main position. More of a hybrid of a lineman and a DB,” Maiava said after arriving back home on Sunday night. “I like linebacker. I get to play the pass and the run game.”
But he was needed in the trenches.
“The first game, we started off slow and we had a lot of linebackers switching in and out. One of the coaches asked me if I wanted to go on the line, be a hybrid. Our D-line had no subs and they weren’t really applying pressure,” said Maiava, who has a 3.4 grade-point average.
Three games later, the Silver squad got maximum, peak performance from the junior.
“He’s a rattlesnake. He just uncoils and takes off like lightning,” Highlight-Hawaii organizer Nate Kia said. “He’s one of those typical tweeners who can fly around. All of our guys are really physical. They can play in the box, rush the passer, cover man-to-man, make plays in space. That’s the Hawaii defenders. That’s what we put out. That’s what Seau can do. Can you rush the passer? Come off the edge? Cover? Yes, yes and yes.”
Maiava was one of five Kahuku players who played in the Showcase. The others were Chansen Garcia (Red), Cole Pruett (Orange), and Keanu Kruze and Pele Kaio (Silver).
Unlike other teams that got five or six matchups, Silver had just three.
“On the second day, it got dark and they postponed our game. The next day, they changed the schedule on us, so we only played three games,” Maiava said.
He is well aware of his namesake. His father, Lesa Maiava, was a big fan of a legendary San Diego Chargers linebacker.
“Growing up, my dad’s favorite player was Junior Seau, so when I came about he chose to name me after him,” Maiava said.
The COVID-19 lockdowns that have derailed organized sports in Hawaii since March did little to stymie Maiava.
“I’ve been training with Kawehena Johnson every morning at 6, Monday through Friday in Hauula,” he said. “In the evening around 5, I train with Coach Sola (Soliai). Coach Kawe is more of a quick-feet kind of coach, so I train more as a linebacker. Speed training. I’ve been training with him for three or four years now. Coach Sola is more hands work, rushing, D-line work. I get the best of both worlds.”
One school has shown interest: San Diego State.
“My plan is to finish my highlights sometime Monday or Tuesday, post it and send it to a lot of coaches,” Maiava said. “I think they like to see the work ethic in the kids. That’s why I try to post a lot.”
In addition to Junior Seau, Maiava is a fan of former Kahuku standout Miki Ah You, now playing for the Washington Huskies.
“He is an inspiration for me. A very fast, very strong linebacker. I looked up to him. He really set the example for us at Kahuku,” he said.
In the 2019 season, Maiava was a key stopper on the junior varsity team, but a reoccuring shoulder injury sidelined him. Surgery in the offseason was followed by two months of rehab. Now, he is at the peak of his powers.
“He is such a grounded young man,” Kahuku coach Sterling Carvalho said. “We brought him up to the varsity after the JV season. We want them to be around our seniors, to see how they lead.”
Top 3 movies/shows
1. “Naruto.” (Netflix) “I just started getting into it and I like it. I’m on the original one, the ninth season. I think there’s 10 seasons in that one show. It’s like 20 episodes per season.”
3. “Ready Player One.”
Top 3 food/snack/drink
1. Grandma’s poke nachos (Margaret Maiava). “She makes it as a treat. It’s delicious. She lives right down the road.”
2. Grandma’s mochiko chicken. “She’s an amazing cook. I cannot make it.”
3. Grandma’s guri-guri. “She freezes the soda. Fanta strawberry soda, adds a bunch of ingredients. She mixes it so it’s more of a slushy type of texture. Then she puts it in little cups with Oreo cookies on the bottom, then a scoop of vanilla ice cream, then she puts the guri-guri on top. She makes it all the time. All the neighborhood kids love eating that. We grew up eating that from before I could remember. She loves cooking all the time. Everyone thanks her for that.”
Top 3 music artists
1. Gregory Isaacs. “Objection Overruled.”
2. Bob Marley. “Waiting in Vain.”
3. Kotch. “Ooh Baby Baby.”
Top 3 video games
1. Call of Duty, Modern Warfare.
2. GTA 5.
3. Madden 21. “Steelers, all day. 7-0, baby. When I’m playing, I use my man, TJ Watt.”
New life skill
Maiava: “I just started practicing and training in the Forex market. I’ve been learning a lot about it because my dad’s into that. I say the key is to find the pattern.”
Maiava: “I’d like to give a shout out to my dad. He does a lot for me and I don’t thank him enough. My mom, Ilikea. She also does so much for me and my family. I can’t thank her enough. And the last one is God for all He does for us.”