Linebacker welcomed back to Notre Dame football from mission

Linebacker Kahanu Kia is coming back to the Notre Dame football program after being away for two years.
Notre Dame v Stanford
Notre Dame v Stanford / David Madison/GettyImages

There's been a lot of talk about the players that Notre Dame football has managed to bring in via the portal. There's also been plenty of talk about the Fighting Irish guys who are sticking around for the 2024 season. And now there's another player to talk about that doesn't fall into either of those categories.

Kahanu Kia is officially back next semester and will once again be able to strap it up and play for the Golden Domers in 2024. Kia isn't coming back through the transfer portal like Tyler Buchner and Drew Pyne. He's not coming back for another year like Rylie Mills. Kia's story is quite a bit different as he's returning from a two-year mission trip.

The class of 2021 linebacker played one season with Notre Dame football before he left on that trip and he certainly left an impression on his head coach. “I’m excited,” Freeman said during his Friday Sun Bowl presss conference. “I loved my one year with Kahanu. He played linebacker for part of the year and then moved to Vyper part of the year. But to get him back in this program, the energy, the production, the physicality that he plays with, I’m excited to see."

Notre Dame football welcome back young linebacker

While Freeman is excited to have the defensive star back, he also understands it's going to take some time to get Kia back up to speed. The Fighting Irish head coach pointed out the linebacker any football at all for quite a while. He thinks there is bound to be benefits from the mission trip as well.

""I bet you we get a more mature individual. I’m excited to see what he does when he gets back.”"

Marcus Freeman

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Just what Notre Dame football gets in Kahanu Kia will be interesting to see. The first time he came to South Bend he played in just two games and saw 11 snaps. How many snaps he'll see in 2024 is anyone's guess, including Freeman's.