The Texas Longhorns continue to address their biggest roster needs, grabbing a key commitment from Kahuku (Hawaii) linebacker Liona Lefau on Saturday.
The 6’1, 210-pound linebacker from Hawaii recently narrowed his focus to three schools, the Utah Utes, the Oregon Ducks, and the Longhorns, scheduling visits to all three. For much of the recruitment, it seemed that the West Coast teams — especially Oregon and ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi — were the teams to beat in the recruitment. However, the Longhorns, including player personnel analyst Jake Langi, pulled out all of the stops during his visit and the weeks following to close the recruitment.
Currently ranked No. 330 nationally and the No. 29 linebacker in the 247Sports Composite rankings, Lefau adds a rangy, versatile defender to a class that already features North Crowley linebacker S’Maje Burrell, and will add at least one more to the mix before the cycle is complete.
Lefau is the Longhorns’ first commitment in the expected post-Arch Manning wave, which the coaching staff hopes will build momentum in the coming days and weeks.
His addition brings Texas up to nine total commitments in the class and moves the Longhorns to No. 17 in the current overall class rankings. He is just the fourth defensive commitment of the cycle thus far, but serves as a massive win for linebackers coach Jeff Choate and defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski in their first full recruiting cycle.
Analysis (via Daniel Seahorn):
Lefau possesses solid size (6’1, 210 pounds) and a good frame that should allow him to continue to add mass at the next level. You won’t find many linebackers that can credibly flip over to the offensive side of the ball and play wide receiver. Lefau can do that and that speaks volumes to his athleticism. On one clip he is playing off the ball at inside linebacker stepping up in gaps and stopping ball carriers cold then the next he is running down the seam out of the slot making big plays on offense. The athleticism shows up early and often on tape for Lefau, as he shows good comfort in getting deep in his drops in coverage and shows the ability to get his hands on the football. On top of that, he shows really good range from sideline to sideline and is a knockback tackler who absolutely brings the funk once he arrives to the ball carrier. I will want to see if he can show the ability to fight through blocks as the competition improves, but I think once he focuses on linebacker full time he could end being a heck of a player. When you find a guy with this kind of athletic profile, who is already showing the coverage skills, range, and disposition to play linebacker you take them every day of the week and twice on Sundays.