All-American Hau’oli Kikaha ready to take on NFL and ‘represent’
If 2014 were any other year, Washington linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha might be one of the most popular people in Hawaii.
The Kahuku graduate was the nation’s leader in sacks with 19.0, as well as a unanimous first team All-American selection.
Despite his Herculean accomplishments, the Husky career sack leader flew somewhat under the radar due to the 50th state’s love affair with Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.
This weekend, the 36th-ranked player in the draft by ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay will await the call of a lifetime at the same time as his collegiate rival from Eugene.
“It’s just an opportunity. Going to the NFL is a huge challenge and I’m ready to take that on and represent,” said Kikaha.
The Hauula native overcame ACL surgeries in both 2011 and 2012 to get to the point of being a projected second or third round draft pick.
“First of all I love the game,” Kikaha said. “I was a little kid and dreamed of playing in the NFL since I was between four or five years old, and on top of that my family. I grew up struggling quite a bit, and don’t want to see that for the rest of them growing up. My niece and nephews, and my kids in the future.”
The NFL draft starts with the first round on Thursday at 2 p.m. HST. The second and third rounds will run Friday starting at 1 p.m. HST, with Saturday’s finale featuring rounds four through seven beginning at 6 a.m. HST.