Jahlani Tavai

Jahlani Tavai led the Rainbow Warriors in tackles up to that point with 82 wrap-ups, including 42 solo.

“With the 43rd pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select Jahlani Tavai, University of Hawaiʻi.”

The move confounded NFL fans around the country, but it came as no surprise to Hawaiʻi fans who have watched linebacker Jahlani Tavai over the last four years.

Despite an injury-shortened senior season, Tavai wraps up his UH career ranked second all-time in school history with 391 tackles. The four-year starter also finished with 220 career solo tackles.

Tavai was thrice selected to an all-Mountain West team. He is the first Mountain West Conference player off the board in this year’s draft.

The first UH player to be drafted since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Joey Iosefa in 2015, Tavai is now tied with Pisa Tinoisamoa (43rd overall) for the third-highest draft pick to come out of UH, behind Ashley Lelie (19th overall) and Travis LaBoy (42nd overall).

It’s unclear how Detroit plans to use him, as they currently have 2017 first-round pick Jarrad Davis at middle linebacker. Tavai has experience playing both middle and outside linebacker. He spent the last three seasons as the Rainbow Warriors middle linebacker, but played outside during his freshman year.