Germany: Cologne Crocodiles sign University of Hawaii LB Makani Kema-Kaleiwahea

Germany’s Cologne Crocodiles signed linebacker Makani Kema-Kaleiwahea from the University of Hawaii Warriors last week following a season-ending injury to Justin Cooper.

Kema-Kaleiwahea made his first appearance in last week’s win over the Berlin Rebels, and recorded five tackles and two tackles for loss.

The 25 year old, 6’3″, 245 lb  native of Honolulu, Hawaii transferred to the Warriors after spending his freshman and sophomore years at the University of Arizona. In his final two seasons at Hawaii he was a standout on defense , playing in 24 games and recording 68 total tackles. He was named team captain in his senior year.

Head coach of the Crocodiles Patrick Köpper:

“Makani will help us in the short term as a player and leader, but also as a model for our young players on and off the field.”

Kema-Kaleiwahea is enthusiastic after his first week:

“The Crocodiles are a very family-run club, I felt comfortable right away and was welcomed by the team. I am not so satisfied with my performance in my first game here, but I will work hard to return to my old performance level as soon as possible.”


Makani Kema-Kaleiwahea in action against Berlin Rebels Photo: Thomas H. Berschet

Kema-Kaleiwahea’s sense of family stretches far beyond his football family. He is also the parent of foster children of his own. Check out the amazing story.

The Gridiron Crew spoke with Kema-Kaleiwahea earlier this year about his style of play:

GC: If you could describe your style of play in 3 words, what would they be?

Makani: 3 words that would describe my game of play is High Motor, Instinctive, and Passion.

GC: If you could compare yourself to one current or former NFL player who would it be and why?

Makani: I would compare my style of play very similar to Hau’oli Kikaha, the OLB for the New Orleans Saints. His ability to play in space as a Linebacker and Pass rush on 3rd down makes him a big time player for any team. I feel I have the same ability to play both positions as well. We both can play special teams as well.

GC: When you are studying film, what do you focus on or look for?

Makani: When I watch film there are a lot of things to look for. When I break down a team I usually look at their down and distance calls, which will give you a big clue what on what they’ll run in the game. Teams usually favor certain plays in situations and as a defensive player it’s crucial you know it. Players also give away plays in their alignments, feet or even their hand placements during pre snap. Film is life when it comes to playing football.

GC: What separates you from other players at your position?

Makani: What separates me from others is my ability to be an every down player. A lot of guys are 3rd down rushers or just 1st and 2nd down backers, but I can stay in the entire drive and produce.

The Crocodiles (3-3) play their next game June 24 against the Hamburg Huskies.

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