Volleyball standout set to join football Warriors

Isaac Liva, a 2016 Mililani High graduate who was one of the state’s top volleyball players the past three years, is set to join the UH football team. He also will play for the volleyball Warriors.

Liva, who will compete at defensive end, is 6 feet 5 and 230 pounds. He has played only one year of organized football.

Here’s the skinny:

> The Great Unknown: When Liva first approached Mililani football coaches in July 2015, head coach Rod York recalled thinking: “Who’s this guy? We never even heard of him.” Part of the unfamiliarity was because Liva attended Hanalani School as a freshman and Hawaii Baptist Academy as a sophomore and junior, when he led the Eagles to the state Division II volleyball titles.

> No strings attached: Liva admittedly had difficulty putting on his pads correctly for his first football practice. The coaches “let you know where you are on the (depth chart),” Liva said. “We had first string, second string and third string. When I first started, I was no string.”

> Quick learner: During the preseason, Liva ascended to backup defensive end. When two d-linemen suffered injuries, Liva was at the top of the depth chart. Liva initially was a pass rusher. But he soon developed run-stopping skills. In Mililani’s four-man base front, Liva was used as a hand-in-the-dirt end. In short-yardage situations, he aligned as a 3-technique tackle. “He’s extremely tough,” York said. “As far as coming off the hips of tackles and wrong-arming guards and smashing blocks, that’s probably his expertise. He can hold the edge and win the line of scrimmage.”

> Aren’t you …: Everybody is compared to somebody, and York said, in the best-case scenario, it is hoped Liva can follow Ikaika Alama-Francis’ path. Alama-Francis was a volleyball/basketball standout when he joined the UH basketball team as a walk-on. Alama-Francis then switched to football, where he had an impressive career. He was the Detroit Lions’ second-round pick in 2007.

* * * * *

Avis has selected LY as the winner of the shirt.


  1. bowwar July 20, 2016 8:25 am

    I’m wondering if any of the former basketball players have shown an interesting in joining the football team…

  2. 808warriorfan July 20, 2016 8:31 am

    If he develops anywhere near Ikaika Alama-Francis that’ll be HUGE … I’m assuming he needs to get into the weightroom to put on football muscle … really glad to see all these walk ons coming to UH. I believe it’s because of the coaching staff and if so we are on the right track


  3. al July 20, 2016 9:51 am

    Aloha Mark Takai.
    You were truly a Warrior for the University of Hawaii, of our entire state, it’s people, and of our Aina.

    We will treasure and honor you forever in our hearts.
    Go with God.

    Rest in peace.

  4. Derek July 20, 2016 9:59 am

    I think John Ursua can transition from football to basketball. Ganot should take a look at his film when he played at Cedarwood HS in Utah. Quite impressive.

    Maybe Liva can be a late bloomer. The key is his technique and quickness.

  5. tom July 20, 2016 10:01 am

    Not a good morning when we lost one of our staunch Warriors and supporters! Rest in peace Mark.

  6. TChahng July 20, 2016 10:08 am

    Aloha Mark Takai. Thank you for your service to our country, our state, our university and our Warriors. Go with God and rest in peace.

  7. NorthShoreFan July 20, 2016 10:11 am

    Guud Morning Tsaikos…Bootiful Day!

    Somewhat tempered with the news of our congressman’s passing. A Tsai-ko who loved UH sports. The man always had a cheerful demeanor and a handshake whenever we ran into him.

    Aloha Mark, ahui ho

  8. 808warriorfan July 20, 2016 10:14 am

    Aloha LTC Mark Takai … God must’ve needed you badly … RIP Warrior

  9. turfwar July 20, 2016 10:21 am

    Aloha Mark. A promising career and life was cut much too short. He would have made a difference for this state. Condolences to his family and many friends and fellow athletes.

  10. bowwar July 20, 2016 10:27 am

    I have to echo others in saying that we’ve lost a true Warrior in Mark Takai…He was amongst the first to vocally support the UH football program and athletics. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. Rest in peace!

  11. turfwar July 20, 2016 10:27 am

    Issac Liva is a very explosive athlete. All you need to see is video of Mililani volleyball in the playoffs. Kid has many tools to tap into. Hips, jumping ability, size. May turn into a gem of a recruit in time. Can’t coach size and you just know at 6’5″ he won’t be 230 pounds for very long.

  12. BigFan July 20, 2016 11:23 am

    Usually just lurking but I wanted to express my condolences to the Takai Ohana. Very sad to see someone pass at such a young age. RIP.

  13. Jeezy33 July 20, 2016 11:29 am

    Next Alama Francis… Lol.. Almost my favorite time of year. When optimism is at an all time high.

    Listed at 6-5 200 during football. At this rate, he’ll be 6-6 250 by September.

  14. Stephen Tsai July 20, 2016 11:35 am

    I saw him play volleyball last week. He said he’s 230. He looks heavier than that.

  15. Bryson July 20, 2016 11:41 am

    Condolences to the Takai Family,Mark was truly a defender of pride rock he was someone I felt that had true love for the University!

  16. jeezy33 July 20, 2016 11:42 am

    If he’s gaining weight that easily, Id redshirt him, and send him Naeoles way. Offensive Tackle written all over that frame. A position Hawaii is lacking at in the future.

  17. NorthShoreFan July 20, 2016 12:08 pm

    jeezy33…sounds like the plan..if he got the quick feet and can move..take sometime to develop the man..invest in the future. Possibly a Buckner type player?

  18. Jeezy33 July 20, 2016 12:16 pm

    17. It’s not me being a hater, but I will never compare a 1st year player walking on to a 1st round NFL draft pick. So if it happens, great. But if he makes the rotation at Hawaii, that would be considered a win for a walk on. The best walk on prospect I watched last fall was Joey Nuuanu. Hopefully it’s not too late but he’ll prob win a scholarship at some point. And Chance Kalaugher might be best project kid.

  19. leron July 20, 2016 12:56 pm

    For a first year player, Liva looked very good against the Kahuku. Recovered a fumble for a TD and didn’t know how to celebrate was a funny moment. May be a project football player but another great pickup for Charlie Wade.

  20. jeezy33 July 20, 2016 1:04 pm

    19. The idea of playing 2 sports sounds nice… But if he wants to be good at any 1 sport, he will have to choose. He won’t develop into a good football player if he’s playing volleyball after football is over. It’s 2 completely different sports where he would need completely different types of strength training for. If he puts on the size and mass to play football, he won’t be good in volleyball. Hopefully he sticks with football.

  21. Luki July 20, 2016 1:10 pm

    Aloha Mark, you represented our district well before heading to U.S. Congress, sad to hear of your passing…

    Isaac Liva, welcome aboard

  22. Ipu Man July 20, 2016 1:20 pm

    Methinks high jumping volleyball players would be
    good pass receivers. Go up to the ball way above the
    defensive coverage while it is still a mile in the air.

    Speaking of…Mark is now up in the air. Rest in peace.

  23. BigWave96744 July 20, 2016 1:24 pm

    FYI Ikaika Alama-Francis was listed at 6’7″, 210 lbs as a Freshman Basketball player for UH. At Kalaheo he played Basketball, Volleyball & Baseball. No football experience


  24. SteveM July 20, 2016 1:31 pm

    Welcome to the Warriors, Isaac Liva!

    Mysticalrabbit July 20, 2016 at 7:33 am
    Does UH have a film or video department? Shouldn’t they tap them for taping the practices/games?
    I grew up with Nebraska football and attended many games. They have an awesome video department and create a great game day experience at the stadium. One of the highlights is the players tunnel walk at the beginning of the games. Look it up on youtube. I think UH’s video department or students should produce more videos to paly at games to make the experience better.
    By the way, since I moved here 21 years ago I have been a UH fan. Even went to watch them in the Sugar Bowl. Go Warrirors!

    Mysticalrabbit — what city do you reside in Arizona?
    Also, are you planning to attend the UH-Arizona game on September 17? Arizona resident Tsai-kos azwarrior22 and slugger (mei ling) are attending. See: http://stevem.altervista.org/away16.html

    Send me an email and I will relay your contact info to them.

  25. Shoko July 20, 2016 1:37 pm

    Sorry to hear about Mark’s passing. May he rest in peace.

    Condolences to the Takai family.

  26. whitey July 20, 2016 1:46 pm

    I can’t believe LtC Takai has left us. Just yesterday he was swimming age group, then Punahou. UH definitely lost one of it’s best alumni and supporter. To the Takai family, my deepest sympathies and condolences.

  27. Shoko July 20, 2016 1:59 pm

    MWC Media Days quickly approaching July 26-27 then Fall Camp!
    Representing the Warriors:
    •Daniel Lewis, Jr., DB
    •Ikaika Woolsey, Sr., QB

  28. H-Man July 20, 2016 2:05 pm

    On another subject, Colorado St and Boise St are in the picture for Big 12 expansion; http://www.si.com/college-football/2016/07/19/big-12-expansion-news-candidates-bob-bowlsby
    I wonder what the MWC is planning if either or both leave the MWC? There was also mention that San Diego St also wants in on the expansion.

  29. Na Alii Pride July 20, 2016 2:49 pm

    Prayers and thoughts to Mark Takai and family. A staunch supporter of UH athletics, and most importantly, he was a really good guy. We will miss you Mark.

  30. Willie July 20, 2016 3:28 pm

    Condolences to the Takai family. Mark will be missed, he served our district admirably for so many years. He did so much for our community and was a champion for education. A fond Aloha to a fellow Bow.

  31. FearGod July 20, 2016 5:16 pm

    #8 Aloha LTC Mark Takai … God must’ve needed you badly … RIP Warrior

    God must’ve needed you badly????? We need God…You need God

  32. Rodney July 20, 2016 5:49 pm

    Interesting that sports animals
    Interview with Ikaika Woolsey
    He refers to offense as run n shoot.
    Makes me wonder why we didn’t hire JJ and co.( Ron Lee of saint Louis high)

  33. SteveM July 20, 2016 6:15 pm

    RE: #32
    Rodney — I expected JJ to be the only choice to bring fans back to the program. But Rolo deserves a shot and brings back the Aloha to the team and stadium. I am very optimistic. Dave Matlin is a smart man–if things don’t work out as well as expected, well, maybe there’s a Plan B. Last I heard, JJ was working with a high school and QB he sees much potential. Count the years until that QB goes to college…about the same number of years IF a Plan B is ever needed.

    But GO ROLO!
    Bring back the offense!
    and Lempa bring on the defense!

  34. kapakahi July 20, 2016 6:42 pm

    Gauging by his folks, Liva looks like his genetics work in his favor to fill-out and bulk-up……

  35. kapakahi July 20, 2016 6:43 pm

    Heard that Kalaugher wanted to come to Manoa…..but still has some academic hurdles to clear……

  36. cappie the dog July 20, 2016 6:52 pm

    I thought Mark Takai had more time.

    He was at the lantern floating ceremony.

    I am very sad to hear of his passing.

  37. SteveM July 20, 2016 6:54 pm

    RIP K. Mark Takai.

    Over in Facebook, A-Joe posted a farewell message, calling Mark Takai a “Bonafide Tsai-ko”.
    Wasn’t just calling him that, he revealed Mark Takai’s status among the earlier Tsai-kos.
    I kinda downplayed it all these years, not certain if that would help or hinder his political career… but let it be known, Mark was a Bonafide Tsai-ko. UH football supporter, Blog Party attendee, and Karaoke Call star.

    Mark Takai first appeared at Blog Party 3, which was the 1st Anniversary party of the Warrior Beat blog. He was next seen at Blog Party 4 (the 2nd anniversary of the blog) and presented a joint House & Senate Proclamation to “Stephen Tsai and his Tsaikos”. See: http://stevem.altervista.org/photos/blogbash4.html
    He appeared at two of the largest Tsai-ko Karaoke Calls, where he sang duets with Esme. He had a good voice.

    I would often run into him at the Navy Exchange Garden Shop, where he would always stop and talk to me about UH football, military service, and cruising (he had taken his family on a Disney cruise years before and complained he can’t find the time now as a Representative). I will miss him.

    He will be entered in the Memorial section of the Tsai-ko Hall of Fame.

  38. Turfwar July 20, 2016 8:14 pm

    Kapakahi that Kalaugher kid is the surprise of the ncaa summer league. Lights up the scoreboard almost every night he plays. And he does it in every way. Drives hard to the rim, offensive rebounds, shoots threes at a pretty high percentage. Lots to like about him as a athlete. Runs well for a big man.

  39. kapakahi July 20, 2016 8:57 pm


    My friends who ref OIA b-ball said that……the kid made huge strides on-court in ability, confidence & attitude during his senior season……from his junior season.

    Now just apply himself off-court too!

  40. 99club July 21, 2016 5:22 am

    RIP Mark Takai. We’ve lost a good man.

  41. leron July 21, 2016 6:24 am

    Kalaugher is going to work on his grades and game at Saddleback JC, which the great AC Carter attended before coming here.

  42. Stephen Tsai July 21, 2016 8:13 am

    New post: http://hawaiiwarriorworld.com/?p=38292

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