Slade-Matautia is a weapon from any angle

Saint Louis linebacker Isaac Slade-Matautia (14) carries the ball during the first half of an ILH football game against Punahou Buffanblu on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015 at Aloha Stadium.
Saint Louis linebacker Isaac Slade-Matautia (14) carries the ball during the first half of an ILH football game against Punahou Buffanblu on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015 at Aloha Stadium.

At 6-foot-1 with lightning-quick reflexes, Isaac Slade-Matautia was, arguably, the most dangerous defender for the Saint Louis Crusaders on the basketball court during the 2015-16 season.

A left-hander with solid handles, mid-range accuracy, instinctual passing and shot-blocking, ball-hawking defensive skills, Slade-Matautia fits the bill of a what-coulda-been on the hardwood. He’s not going to miss the game all that much, though.

Now, as a 220-pound senior — he has picked up roughly 20 pounds since that long hoops season — the standout linebacker is part of an elite corps for Coach Cal Lee’s defense.

“He’s a physical guy. He likes to make contact. I’m not saying only him, but everybody. I like the physical part and the kids want that,” said Lee, a former standout at the same position during his playing years at Willamette College. “Those guys are very excited about the game.”

Slade-Matautia has offers from eight FBS programs: Arizona, Arizona State, Central Florida, Colorado, Hawaii, Nebraska, Washington and Washington State.

Mililani, which hosts Saint Louis on Saturday in the first preseason weekend of the season, hasn’t forgotten Slade-Matautia’s impact last year. Saint Louis eliminated a banged-up Trojans squad in the state semifinals.

“He is one of the best linebackers ever to come out of the state,” Mililani coach Rod York said. “His athletic ability is uncanny because he’s not that big, but he trains with Chad Ikei and he’s developed a lot of explosive power. I think he power cleans almost 300 (pounds), which is rare for a guy his size. He’s a field general. You can see it from our side of the ball. He makes guys better with the plays he makes on the field.

Where Slade-Matautia will land position-wise at the next level is going to be interesting. He’s explosive enough to cover ground and get jumps on deep balls as a safety. He could bring that quickness and physicality to the box and remain at linebacker. Gaining another 10 or 15 pounds before his first college game is not out of the question. By then, he might be 230 or 235 pounds, and he could grow another inch or two. Or more.

“He’s definitely an outside linebacker or strong safety,” York said. “I think he’s athletic enough to play free safety, too, but at the same time he’s one of the best linebackers to come out. Those are good options.”


  1. anywaaaays!! August 3, 2016 12:50 pm

    Everybody is banged up in the post season even St. Louis had a couple starters banged up in that game. no need to make excuses.

  2. AOK August 3, 2016 1:01 pm

    @anyways While your statement is not false, there are different degrees to it. Banged up MVP Milton is a lot different than another team losing their own starting QB. The first is the POY and the second might be just another guy. It would be like Tua getting injured for a long period of time. If that were to happen no way Crusaders make it back to States. Simple as that.

  3. Alpha August 3, 2016 3:11 pm

    He’s ok….. boy these articles love reporting on the hype…. sorry to say, I’m glad for the success this kid is having but he is probably the 3rd best lb on that team…I’m not hating, just giving my honest opinion…

  4. Bigg Sarge August 3, 2016 3:56 pm

    Alpha Polo wth you talking about? Iceman was a All Stater and by far the best defender on St Louis.. His physicality doesn’t pass the eye test, but the skills are very noticeable on film and in game action. He is the best Linebacker in the State, don’t hate there guy, Facts bruh…not opinion..

  5. HanaBrada August 3, 2016 4:17 pm

    @ Alpha, soo you’re saying Coach York is just feeding the hype train too? Why would he do that? I think we’d all like to know who you think are the other two better linebackers on St. Louis’s team. Names please?

  6. anywaaaays!! August 3, 2016 4:25 pm

    AOK, the media is a bunch of nerds that dont understand that Football is a team sport, you lose as a team not because your star player is banged up. If that were the case then the said program is not really good at getting the backups ready to play. Besides Milton did play the first half against St. Louis and he was a deer in the headlights, they were already losing 28-7 by the time he got hurt and eventually getting crushed 56-30

  7. anywaaaays!! August 3, 2016 4:51 pm

    Alpha, Slade is a beast and multi threat on the defense. The other two LB’s you are thinking about are tough run stoppers but Slade is much more versatile, I think he and Lakalaka are the two best LB in the state right now.

  8. 88 August 3, 2016 5:20 pm

    Look out for #28 in Red. If you arm-chair coaches only new……

  9. Alpha August 3, 2016 5:25 pm

    @biggsarge…. it’s my honest opinion, just like your comments are yours. I’m not hating, It’s an opinion based on what I’ve seen on the kid and based on other things I don’t want to bring up out of respect…. do not hate on my freedom of speech.

    @hanabrada….. Coach York is saying what any Coach would say about a football player. Name a Coach who talk negative about another kid and risk their job and status…. it’s called saying what’s “politically correct”. But I don’t know what York thinks of the boy… and I’m not dropping names, if you watched the state title then you would know.

  10. Bigg Sarge August 3, 2016 5:45 pm

    Alpha, not hating on your freedom of speech…I can provide facts though, All Stater at Kaiser DII, as a Freshemen, sideline to sideline speed, ability to tackle in space, ball hawk and bruising tackler. JR year, sideline speed, crushing tackle, blows up lead blockersr, lead tackler on ST Louis team, All ILH, ALL State selection, can play Will, Mike, SAM even strong safety, High level football IQ… Those are facts with a high upside, however is the fact that arm chair Coaches will state: Doesn’t Pass Eye test, Short, over run plays sometimes, gets swallowed by Kahuku linemen, was 1 friggin game and it was ST LOuis scheme that failed them, not Iceman…..Whatever dude, keep Coaching from your Lazy-boy…

  11. 87 August 3, 2016 6:58 pm

    Agree with bigsarge that the Stlouis defensive plan (Cal Lees defense) is what lost the game against big red. The two best LBs in issac and jordan planted on the outside watching as big red went up the middle all night.

    Excited to see what that tongan #28 will add to that big red defense this year, two years ago as a soph he was the only LB that could contain Mililanis Melepeai

  12. Alpha August 3, 2016 7:01 pm

    @biggsarge…. awwww, not the lazy boy Coach line…. it’s good you know all about the boy. This article proves my statement though. I have not or will not say anything negative about him because there is no negatives… you have backing to prove your opinion and I have mines (it’s in the article, you just have to read between the lines).

    @88….. I’m just gona clear about this….. I am not a Kahuku alumni, I don’t have a kid at that school. I just Wana put that out there cause I know people gona think I’m a red raider…. but that #28 your referring too is a straight beast. He just needs to stay out of trouble, I’m just glad to see him back…. Kahuku D is no joke this year… the line just needs to mature during season but other the That, best D in the state.

  13. Bigg Sarge August 3, 2016 7:22 pm

    Alpha, I love and have been studying Linebackers for years because my son plays LB. I can see what you meant about reading between the lines in the article and I pointed it out. Doesn’t pass eye test, too small.. However speaking about HS and Collegiate level, hes in the mode of a Kaluka Maiava but with much better range…We have some good ones in Hawaii, but the special ones like Lakalaka and Ice are above the others. His workout numbers are off the chains as well, but again you have to train on 3 phases of fitness, Flexibility, Strength and Endurance…

    Big Red’s defense is just straight up solid…but adding another dimension like the #28 kid will be monstrous. However, Vavae has organized a much disciplined and well coached defense, a troubled kid will not last long with a strong Coach like Vae. I watched the Kapolei game and I knew Big Red’s D was going to be difficult for Tua to decipher, but Tua cant beat kahuku by himself, Shiite even Trent Dilfer labeled St Louis Offense as a wacky/undicplined offense…I betting the house on Kahuku to repeat because of that Defense…..Don’t get me started on Sol-Jay Maiava….wow Kahuku, great job keeping him at home…What a Gem>>>

  14. 88 August 3, 2016 7:38 pm

    Like I said ” if you guys only knew”…. #28 did not even play football last year…. Shows up straight from the farm and is the starting Middle LB. No camps, no weight training, no plyometrics, no Chad Ige. Just go build rock wall during the day and play touch rugby in the evenings.

  15. Alpha August 3, 2016 7:56 pm

    @biggsarge…. I’m not disagreeing with anything your telling me, I’m just going to stick to my opinion. I will be that 1% that says he is an ok backer and that’s fine.

  16. Homegrown August 3, 2016 9:59 pm

    Matautia kid is a beast. Kahuku lost a bunch of freshman studs to Punahou that came up with Maiava from Laie Park big boys, and a couple other ballers to Orem in Utah. Kahuku would’ve been scary for the next couple years with that talent plus Tata’s coaching prowess.

    Right now I’d still give the edge in the ILH to Punahou with that receiving corps but you can never count out Tua.

    In the OIA the only teams posing a challenge to Kahuku is Waianae and Kapolei. Once Kahuku gets some of the offensive lineman back and Falemalu at tight end they will be very scary.

  17. locomoco August 3, 2016 11:30 pm

    Slade-Matautia is a great example of why Iolani doesn’t belong in D-1. He started out at Iolani for intermediate. Was so promising that other schools in ILH and in another state were interested. After some bouncing around, ends up at St.L. Another Iolani D-1 prospect, Jacob Isaia left last school year for Bishop Gorman.

  18. 87 August 4, 2016 12:26 am

    locomoco so you are saying Iolani should not be competing in ILH D1 because their competitors (Stlouis,Punahou) are stealing their best talent? Then you should be the spokes person for the OIA to stop a super conference from happening because those same two schools are luring the top talent from Waianae, Kahuku,Campbell Farrington. Its almost like Robocop walking up to Rambo, taking Rambos knife and gun away from him pointing it right back at him and saying “LETS FIGHT!”

  19. Aku Bird August 4, 2016 6:08 am

    He’s pretty good, he’s from Aiea but attended Kaiser, Bishop Gorman and ST Louis? I hope he doesn’t transfer that much in college.

  20. 88 August 4, 2016 6:08 am

    Why would Robocop take Rambo’s gun when Robocops gun is a million times better…. You need to work on your examples. That was terrible

  21. 87 August 4, 2016 7:55 am

    Because thats what elitists do they want to make sure that they have all the odds in their favor so that you have zero chance at winning. What 88 you dont pay attention to wall street? Pickup a book and try reading some day, haahaa! nah jk I know you read cat in the hat every night b4 you kiss your honey 89 goodnight.

  22. 86 August 5, 2016 8:23 am

    88 August 3, 2016 at 5:20 pm
    Look out for #28 in Red. If you arm-chair coaches only new……

    88 is all state first team arm-chair cheerleader. Best there ever been!

  23. 88 August 5, 2016 8:35 am

    Oohhhhhh yeeeaaaahhhhh…….

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