football

USC steals one from crosstown rival

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Wailuku (Hawaii) Baldwin linebacker Kaluka Maiava was a big early season pickup for UCLA but was always going to take additional trips. He took an official visit to Oregon two weeks ago and was going to visit a few more schools when the offer he had been waiting on since the summer came in and that’s all she wrote.
“He committed to USC yesterday,” Scott Mahoney, Kaluka’s father said. “They offered him a week ago and said they were holding off on offering a few other top linebackers but needed an answer right away from Kaluka. He had a big game to prepare for this past weekend and asked if he could have the weekend to think things over and they said that would be fine.
“He really liked UCLA a lot and so did our whole family. I loved it down there and think it’s a first class program so I know it was tough on Kaluka. At the same time, there is just something so special about USC and the football team. We went down there for the Colorado State game and the atmosphere and the energy the team plays with is incredible. Kaluka camped at USC over the summer and loved the coaches and the intensity they all have. The team plays with so much fire and the way they run around and hit, no other program is like that.
“I told Kaluka to go out in the water and think about what he wanted to do. That’s kind of where you can escape from everything and I always get a lot of clarity in the ocean. When he came back in, he said he wanted to be a Trojan. He’s very excited right now and the coaches really made him feel special. I was talking to Ken Norton and they said they watched film on every linebacker in the country and had Kaluka in their top two. He said they’re only going to take one or two more linebackers this year and wanted Kaluka to be one of them. So we’ve already notified all the other schools who were recruiting Kaluka about his decision and called UCLA personally to thank them for everything. Like I said, it was very tough for him but he couldn’t say no to USC.
"We called Coach Chow and he told us they barely won this past weekend and need more players like Kaluka, players that will never quit and will keep playing no matter what. That's what Kaluka is all about, he loves to play the game and I don't think anyone will play it harder than him."
Maiava, 5-11, 210 pounds had a big senior season and it was actually his senior film that got him offered by the Trojans. We loved him at both the SoCal and NorCal Nike camps where he was rated among the top three linebackers at both events. The athlete is a huge hitter, runs very well and can play in space. He’s good in coverage but really excels against the run and plays with a fire and emotion that should make a real crowd favorite in a couple of years.
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