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Kaluka Maiava LB 6í 229 USC 4.77

By: Robert Davis

Maiva made an immediate impact on special teams for USC, and has been a standout there during his career. As a freshman, he had 20 tackles and an interception, earning USCís Co-special teams player of the year. As a sophomore he again earned that award, while playing more on defense, finishing the season with 34 tackles, 3.5 of them for a loss. Maiava made his biggest impact as a defender as a junior in 2007, earning two starts and posting 44 tackles, 4.5 for loss, and two sacks. Maiava was asked to replace first round pick Keith Rivers on the weak side this year, and he did as well as could be expected. He was third on the team in tackles with 62, 7.5 for loss and an interception.

Strengths

Maiava is a very quick linebacker that plays with a lot of aggressiveness. He flies around the field with a motor that never stops. He is quick to diagnose the play, and wastes no time flowing to the action. He throws his body around without regard for injury, and plays bigger than his size because of it. Maiava has shown the instincts, quickness, speed, and toughness that projects to the NFL as a weakside linebacker.

Weaknesses

Size is the glaring issue with Maiava. He is short and has only average bulk, which may limit his upside in the NFL. Blockers can take him out of the action when they lock on to him. Playing on one of the most talented defenses in college football history, some may ask the question if his success was because there was so much attention paid to his teammates.

Future

Kaluka Maiava did everything he could this year to prove he is a legit pro prospect. He had a fine regular season for the Trojans. Things have really turned up since the end of the regular season though. He began 2009 by earning Defensive MVP honors at the Rose Bowl, then had an impressive week at the Shrine game. Continuing his move up the boards, he had another solid showing at the combine. His 40 time was only average, but displayed very good agility and quickness in his shuttles and position drills. Maiava is limited because of his size, but he could be a very productive weakside player in the NFL. He entered the year with a lot to prove to be a draftable prospect, and he now has an outside shot at being selected in the third round.


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