Nov 29, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies defensive end Hau’oli Kikaha
Hau’oli Kikaha – Outside Linebacker/Defensive End – Washington
Hau’oli Kikaha has been one of my favorite players to watch all year. He is one of many elite defensive talents playing for the Washington Huskies, and is arguably putting up the most impressive numbers in all of college football. He leads the NCAA with 15.5 sacks as well as 19.5 tackles for a loss.
He’s also shown that he can be effective in a three-point stance as well as a two-point stance. In 2013, Kikaha lined up all over the defensive line for the Huskies. Whether it was as a one/three-tech defensive tackle, or a five/nine-tech defensive end, Kikaha consistently disrupted plays and quickly made a name for himself.
This year, the Huskies decided to switch Kikaha to a 3-4 OLB in their new system and it’s only made him better.
What I normally look for in an edge rusher is someone that is very active and relentless with their hands, and Kikaha may be the best when it comes to using his hands and freeing himself from an opposing blocker.
Kikaha doesn’t have many weaknesses in his game, but scouts may be weary of his two ACL tears that occurred after his freshman year (both on his left knee).
Kikaha doesn’t have many weaknesses in his game, but scouts may be weary of his two ACL tears that occurred after his freshman year
It remains to be seen exactly what position NFL scouts will like to see Kikaha play. He’s currently listed at six-foot-three, 250 pounds, which is slightly undersized for a defensive end. If he ends up playing as a pass rushing linebacker, I’d like to see what he can do when asked to play in coverage. If he plays DE, then he’s going to need to add a little more muscle to his frame to succeed in the pros.
Why He Fits:
Hau’oli Kikaha would be a great toy for Teryl Austin to play with. With defensive tackles Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh likely gone after this year, Austin can move Jason Jones back to his natural position at defensive tackle and free up a spot at DE for someone who has a better knack for getting to the QB.
Kikaha is considered to be one of the best pass rushers in this draft class and could possibly be the best edge rusher on the Lions by the time he steps foot in Allen Park. Austin would have plenty of options to consider with Kikaha. I think you could ask him to line up almost anywhere as a defensive lineman and expect great things. And if you’re not content with the production you’re getting out of your strongside linebacker, then I think you could ask Kikaha to step in and rush the passer from a two-point stance and expect the same.
Overall, I think Kikaha is a first round talent, that could end up slipping to the second round due to his history of injuries.
Hau’oli Kikaha vs. Hawaii (2014)