Just 10 months ago Ma'afala was playing high school ball at Kamehameha. Now he's a true freshman working to survive on the Hawaii front line.
For Abu Ma'afala things are happening lightning fast. He thought he would redshirt his first year at Hawaii, but an injury to defensive tackle Lui Ugs changed that and threw Ma'afala into the fire. And so far Ma'afala's game has been pretty good. Although he's the first to admit he's got a lot of work ahead of him.
Ma'afala played last year in high school as a Kamehameha Warrior. He turned down schools like Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin to go from one Warrior team to another. And so far Ma'afala's picking up in college right where he left off in high school. His last prep game was an all-star game in which he lived out a lineman's dream, scoring on a fumble return. In first college game Abu picked up a fumble and rumbled into the end zone for his first college score.
Abu is a member of the famous football playing Ma'afala family, that includes former Hawaii lineman Nick Ma'afala and current Pittsburgh Steeler tailback Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala.