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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Kainoa Fuiava, DT, Idaho State

Kainoa Fuiava Idaho State
Kainoa Fuiava the former BYU defensive tackle from Idaho State University recently sat down with Jimmy Williams of NFL Draft Diamonds.
  • Name: Kainoa Fuiava
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 290
  • Position: DT
  • College: Idaho State University
  • Twitter: @KainoaFuiava

Tell us about your university/college. What was your major/minor? How is campus life?

Campus life is interesting. I enjoy spending my free time at the Rendezvous building. My friends and I usually eat our food and do our homework together at the Vous. 

Check out NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 Small School Rankings

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

My teammates would say that even though I am a man of few words, I am a capable leader. I lead my team through my actions, by setting an example. 

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?

I see myself wherever the team needs me. I am very athletic to be able to play in a 3-4 type of defense by taking on double teams while stopping the run game. In addition to converting that same power into applying pressure on the QB in the pass game. I am dangerous in the 4-3 defense as well. I have the size and physicality to play on the inside as a 3 tech, but also have the quickness to pass rush from the edge.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

The best player I ever played against would have to be Zack Moss. One of the only people I know that has the talent to run through linemen and out run DBs.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?

One teammate that impressed me the most at ISU would have to be Mitch Gueller. Talk about someone that is athletic, this guy pulled a Bo Jackson. Coming out of high school, he was drafted to the MLB. Then after his time with baseball, he came straight into football and BALLED OUT. If the ball was thrown in the air towards Mitch, my hands were already up knowing he was going to come down with it no matter who was on him. 

If we are talking about ALLof my teammates from my whole college career, it would have to be Taysom Hill. He is that guy that you would always want on your team no matter what the situation is. He was the guy that can literally do it all. In the weightroom, he was outlifting linemen and on the field he was out running everyone!

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.

While transitioning from living with my mom to my dad, I was forced to miss out on my freshman year of high school. Even though I missed out my freshman year, I was not held back. Instead,  I advanced to my sophomore year. For me to be able to even graduate was a long shot. Furthermore, for me to even think about college was near impossible. My advisor showed me two options, 

Option One: was just taking easy credit classes for me to graduate but would NOT be D1 eligible for college. 

Option two: was the path to be D1 eligible with some risks that I will have to be willing to take. My advisor told me the only way for me to be D1 eligible, I would have to take zero periods, 7 classes, and summer school containing only core credit classes for the rest of my high school career. Completing all of this would barely get me enough for highschool credits, followed along with my collegiate credits too. Therefore, if I were to fail one class I would not be able to graduate from highschool. 

I went all in and took option two, then ended up signing with BYU coming out of highschool with a full ride scholarship. 

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?

If I didn’t play football I would have played basketball for fun and baseball for a career. I was pretty talented at baseball but never fell in love with the sport nor even liked to watch it.  

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?

Something that I am most proud of is how far I’ve come with all the odds against me. My biggest achievement right now has to be going to college on a full ride scholarship. The reason I say this is because of the process of everything I went through just to get here.

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.

One of my most memorable plays that I will never forget is when I got the game winning sack against Portland State. I remember the pain I was feeling throughout my whole body and when I got the sack, all of the sudden that pain in my body went away. My adrenaline was rushing and I noticed my body still had so much energy, as if I was ready to play another half. Going back in film, we noticed one WR that the QB saw was wide open. So if I had not made that play that year, who knew what kind of season we would have had. 

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?

Something that I find interesting is that I have a favorite player and team in every sport besides football. Whenever it comes down to football, I see myself being able to compete with those types of players, I don’t really look at them as a model or anything. I usually just watch films of D-linemen in the NFL, and focus on their technique and try to apply it to my type of style of the game. Therefore, I don’t really know any players that I can truly say that have the same type of play style as me.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?

My favorite music artist is A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. I play his song “Jungle” before every game which gets me hyped.

What is your favorite comfort food?

My favorite food of all time is Teriyaki chicken and rice.

Do you have a favorite movie or actor?

My favorite movie is Waist Deep and my favorite actor would have to be Jonah Hill.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?

In my spare time I love to play video games, such as Fortnite and Call of Duty.

Who or what motivates you the most?

My motivation comes from everything I went through when I was growing up. I have so many people that look up to me, so I cannot let them down without giving it my all. My family and friends are my drive of why I do things and why I can never stop.

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