Oregon defensive end David Kafovalu, a junior from Arlington High School (Riverside, CA) enters his third season with the Oregon program.
Kafovalu played four seasons at Arlington HS, staring as a two-way athlete. Along with his time on the football field, he also threw discus in Track & Field earning two Varsity letters.
Despite being a defensive lineman in the Oregon program, Kafovalu got his prep action for Arlington Head Coach Pat McCarthy primarily as an offensive tackle/guard. And there was a pretty good reason he played offense in high school… he was really good at it! Kafovalu was named All-Inland Valley League (California) as an offensive lineman in his senior season and earned All-CIF Inland Division team.
But it’d be wrong to overlook his ability on the defensive side of the ball as well. Maxpreps credits Kafovalu’s senior defensive stats as 15 total tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. Now, prep stats are far from accurate and a poor representation of a player’s tenure. Kafovalu recorded far more tackles and sacks in his final season, but no official number is available.
Kafovalu joined the Ducks’ program as a walk-on in 2011, seeing time with the scout team. The coaches quickly moved him over to the defensive side of the ball, possibly due to his size. At 6’3″ and 240 lbs, he doesn’t possess the necessary size to play offensive line for a Division 1 football team. However, he does have a very similar build to former Oregon defensive end great Nick Reed, who also was a tad undersized.
Kafovalu first saw the field for the Ducks in 2012, particularly during the late stretch in the season when Oregon’s defensive line was crippled with injuries. He recorded three tackles and a critical forced fumble in a close win at California (Berkley) when Oregon was at its thinest defensively. In total, Kofavlu appeared in six games recording eight tackles (three unassisted, five assisted) along with 1.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
Unfortunately, Kafovalu is in a similar boat to #99 Sam Kamp who was profiled yesterday. The Ducks have a loaded defensive line with three seniors in Taylor Hart, Wade Keliikipi and Ricky Havili-Heimuli. All three started last season and will hold their jobs for one more year.
Kafovalu is fourth on the depth chart for the starting defensive end job behind Hart, sophomore DeForest Buckner and Kamp. Kafovalu will likely see the same amount of playing time in 2013 as he did in 2012, barring injury of course. His major contribution will come in 2014 as a senior when he can battle for reserve time along the defensive line.