LB Kiko Mauigoa talks golf, family and football

LB Kiko Mauigoa talks golf, family and football


Coach Cristobal doesn’t just let anyone wear the #1. It’s earned, and on the defense, the choice was clear: LB Francisco “Kiko” Mauigoa. After a ‘23 season in which he piled up 82 tackles, 18 TFLs and 7.5 sacks, Mauigoa enters 2024 as one of the top defensive players in the ACC. He spoke with the CanesInSight Daily Podcast about golf, family and football.

A summary of Mauigoa’s interview is below:

On the transition from American Samoa to Miami: I feel like it's very similar. The weather back home is very tropical. We only got one season and it's always hot year-round. Coming here is basically the same. It wasn't a hard adjustment.

The people, too, it's almost the same. People are very, very energetic and very enthusiastic. Where I'm from, that's how people are.

On his athletic background: I was a quarterback since youth football. I made the transition from quarterback to linebacker my junior year, when I played in California. I hit my growth spurt and grew out of nowhere. Then I fell in love with the position.

I just love being physical. I love tackling people. It’s part of who I am. Being able to be aggressive and be physical, that’s the part of football that I love the most.

Being a quarterback really helped me become a good linebacker. Part of that is just knowing types of schemes. It made me understand the defense more, where to drop, which route concept to cover. I knew, based on the routes and the type of defense, where the target went and the weakness of the defense.

On playing in front of his family: It's an amazing opportunity to have your family at every game, especially to play with my brother at this level. Not a lot of people get that opportunity. Growing up with my brother, we lived in the same household since we were young.

That was a big part of the decision to come back. I saw something growing over here. I want to be part of [my brother’s] journey, too. Maybe we could be together at the next level, but we're focusing on being the best players we can be at the moment.

On Canes Connection: Canes Connection really helps us build our brand and establish a strong bond with the community. That’s the part of Canes Connection I love most. It's just bringing us all together with the community.

On the linebacker room: When I first stepped in here in Miami, the guys really welcomed me with open arms. We just got into business. We were competing for spots and it was nothing personal. It was just us trying to get each other better.

That's what stands out the most in this program. Our coaches are trying to create an environment where we can compete and grow. Seeing these young guys that came in last year grow and make a big steps for themselves is an amazing journey to watch. It's a blessing to be part of their journey. My relationship with these guys will go a long way. A really big part of being a football player is connected with people.

On Coach Derek Nicholson: When I was recruited here, I was recruited by Coach Strong. When Coach Derek Nicholson stepped to the plate, I didn't know what to expect. That was probably one of the best things that happened to me.

He's very real. He doesn't go away from the facts. He makes sure to build a relationship with you and make you comfortable. He’ll get you better. That's one thing that sticks out– he'll always be by your side backing you up, no matter what.

On his favorite hobbies: When I get some free time on my hands, I like to play golf. I golf a lot. I just fell in love with it. Golf is a sport that can go a long way because it doesn't have an age limit. I go to Granada, the nine-hole course.

The beaches here are nice, too. I play volleyball. The weather here, it's amazing.

On getting jersey #1: Being number one, it's a number that stands out. It’s a pleasure for me to get chosen to wear that number by Coach Cristobal. My number in high school was #1. I want to end my year here with the bang and I requested #1. It's no pressure. I just play my game.

On his brother Francis’s development: He’s still got a long way to go. He's still got room to improve and to mature. But he has grown tremendously over the year. He has a very great will to get better.

Nothing will get in the way of him trying to work on his craft and trying to improve every single day. I won't take that away from him. I love that he's very disciplined. He's committed, and he has pride in what he does, and he doesn't take that lightly.

One thing I would say for him to do is keep it consistent. To have a consistent habit of trying to get better and trying to work on the things that you're not good at. So when the time comes or when opportunity presents itself, you're ready for it.

Comments (4)

Appreciate the write-up…..but….i think we’re being bambozzled here…..

Article “writer” says @DMoney but the writing style looks eerily similar to our very own Pistol @Peter Ariz …..why the trickery gents? Lol You guys know we’d read the content anyways, best out here bar none!
Appreciate the write-up…..but….i think we’re being bambozzled here…..

Article “writer” says @DMoney but the writing style looks eerily similar to our very own Pistol @Peter Ariz …..why the trickery gents? Lol You guys know we’d read the content anyways, best out here bar none!
This is a transcription of a video interview (link in OP) between Peter and Kiko.
I'm thinking they are using ChatGPT to transcribe these videos. 🧐 Strong work as usual however. Thanks!