Notre Dame Signee Profile: DL Aidan Keanaaina
Denver Mullen defensive tackle Aidan Keanaaina committed to Notre Dame in February and never wavered from his pledge to the Irish. Now, the 6-3, 305-pounder has put pen to paper and signed with the Fighting Irish.
Here is what you need to know about the high academic student-athlete.
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Rivals: Four-star talent, No. 4 recruit in Colorado and No. 30 defensive tackle nationally
ESPN: Three-star recruit, No. 4 player in Colorado and No. 33 defensive tackle in the country
2019 Stats: 77 total stops, 13 tackles for loss, four sacks, eight forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, seven quarterback hurries and a blocked field goal.
Career Stats: 216 tackles, 28 stops for loss, 12.5 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), 10 quarterback hurries and a blocked field goal.
• 2020 Polynesian Bowl participant
• Named to the 2019 Polynesian High School Player of the Year award watch list
• 2018 and 2019 Class 5-A first-team All-West Metro Conference
• 2018 All-USA Today first-team All-Colorado
• 2018 Mile High Sports’ All-Colorado first-team defense
• Works out with former NFL defensive tackle Matt McChesney at Six Zero Strength & Training, driving two hours round trip three time a week at 5 a.m.
• 4.1 GPA
Offer Sheet: Arizona State, BYU, Cal, Colorado, Colorado State, Florida, Iowa, Kansas State, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue, UCLA, USC, Utah, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wisconsin and Yale
Keanaaina landed an offer from Notre Dame in the spring of 2018 and became a key target for defensive line coach Mike Elston.
Notre Dame got Keanaaina on campus last summer and returned to campus in the fall for the Stanford game.
His recruitment came down to three outstanding choices in Florida, Notre Dame and Ohio State, and Keanaaina sided with the Irish in February.
“I’ve always had a sense about Notre Dame since I first visited in the summer,” Keanaaina told BGI right after his commitment. “That experience has always been the top of all of my visits. My mom would say that she could tell I would compare every visit to that Notre Dame one. I know Notre Dame will be a great place for me because of the people and culture there.
“Coach Elston always told me I was a priority for them, and that my personality fits exactly what Notre Dame wants in a player. They feel I fit perfectly there. It really showed how much they cared getting me with the time and effort they put into and actually coming out here to my school to check in on me.”
When Keanaaina gave his word to Notre Dame, he truly meant it. Other schools would have loved to flip Keanaaina from the Irish, but he was locked in with Notre Dame.
Keanaaina took his Notre Dame official visit this April, and he returned to watch the Irish’s defensive line take over the game in a 35-20 triumph versus Virginia.
“It was an amazing game for the defensive line," he said. "It was fantastic to watch the D-line play. That was a dream come true for them, taking over the game.”
“It’s the same things, but it just keeps getting better and things are added on. I really see the dedication Coach [Mike] Elston has with his D-linemen. It’s a family there. They will push you when they need to, but it’s a loving group.” — Keanaaina on if why he picked Notre Dame has changed over the course of the 2019 calendar year
“He provides some stability to the middle of the defense. He is always dependable. Aidan is a great kid that is always going to be there, always do his job and be in the right place at the right time to try and make plays.With him in there, there are two or three gaps that teams can’t run through. He does a lot. Aidan is very athletic, uses his hands well and makes plays. He provides a lot to our team on the defensive side of the football.” — Denver Mullen head coach Vincent White
“Aidan can dominate the competition from start to finish. Perfectly suited for the nose tackle position, he’s fast and powerful. He gets off the ball quickly, dominates the point of attack, and can handle the double team. I believe he has what it takes to be come an All-American at the next level. Aidan needs to be double-teamed at all times. ... No doubt in my mind is Aidan one of the premier run stoppers in the country.” — Tom Lemming of Prep Football Report and CBS Sports Network