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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Shrine Bowl lets NFL teams see Maiava

The agent decision has been made, the practices are behind him, and Saturday is game day.

The East-West Shrine Classic in Houston might be the last game Kaluka Maiava plays as a collegian.

Or that might be in next week's Senior Bowl.

Whenever he plays his last game before turning professional, the stage is set for the 2005 Baldwin High School graduate to get to that next level.

Maiava, who finished his career as a Southern California linebacker by being named the defensive player of the game in the Trojans' 38-24 win over Penn State in the Rose Bowl, said Friday that he was interviewed by ''at least 25'' NFL teams this week and that practices went well for Saturday's game.

''It was real strong from the first day on,'' Maiava said. ''We did one-on-one pass coverage every day and I did real well in that. That is what the scouts want to see, how you match up against other people. I was confident. I met all the scouts and they really liked me.

''The whole week of practice, I felt they really liked my stock, my stock went up, and it really helped me for playing on Sundays.''

Soon after the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, Maiava signed with agent Kenny Zuckerman of Priority Sports. Zuckerman also handles NFL veteran offensive linemen Olin Kreutz and Dominic Raiola, both from Saint Louis School.

Maiava received an invitation to the NFL scouting combine about a week ago.

''I was real happy about that; that is a lot of stress off my shoulders,'' he said.

He expects to hear about the Senior Bowl, one way or another, after Saturday's game.

''The Senior Bowl, it should be no later than right after the game (Saturday),'' Maiava said. ''You are supposed to report for the Senior Bowl by (Saturday), so I have to know soon. I heard a couple big-name linebackers aren't going to play there, so that is just more opportunity for me to be in it.''

When he was measured this week, Maiava checked in at 6 feet, 232 pounds.

''That was actually heavier than I wanted be - during the season, I was 225 and then last week I was 228,'' he said. ''I guess I drank too much water, but I am not the tallest linebacker, so I need to be a little heavier - 232 was good.''

Maiva is looking forward to the game after an intense week of practices.

''It is all about the practices, thinking about what the scouts want to see and being noticed,'' Maiava said. ''The game itself is a benefit for the Shriners hospital and a lot of the scouts leave before the game to get to the Senior Bowl. They can dictate how practice goes - for me, looking at offensive-line defense and those one-on-one matchups. In the game they can't control it, so the practices are really the key. Practice, just like during the season, is what makes the game a party on Saturday.''

Maiava said he had interviews of 30-45 minutes with almost all the NFL's 32 teams.

''It is just getting to know what kind of person you are, stuff like that,'' Maiava said. ''It was just reassuring knowing they know who I am and they watched me play and they are interested. I got caught in the lobby or they called me. I met most of the NFL guys, met a lot of general managers and defensive coordinators and guys like that. I met with at least 25 different teams. I would forget what room I was in sometimes.''

His one complaint this week?

''It is really cold right now,'' he said. ''It is about 40, too cold for me.''


Jodatoa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jodatoa said...

wow 30-45 min interviews with all 32 nfl teams! Well at least we know that teams are interested in him. I think he is a 4-5 round pick hopefully you can improve his stock through the individual workouts and combine coming up.