Utah got some good news for the 2018 class with a commitment from Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita Catholic athlete Malone Mataele. He is ranked a three-star recruit by the 247Sports Composite, and Scout has him as a four-star recruit and is ranked in the Scout 300 (No. 293). Mataele, who will participate in the Polynesian Bowl, chose Utah over offers from Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Cal, Colorado, Purdue, Stanford, Virginia, UCLA, and Washington State among others. He can play both on offense at running back and on defense at defensive back. He is Nike+ Verified 5’ 11” with 4.62 speed, which is impressive for a high school junior. His primary recruiter is running backs coach Kiel McDonald and will likely play running back at Utah.
There is a lot to like about Mataele. He is dangerous with the ball in his hands. Because he has great vision, he can cut back runs or slip through small holes and has the patience to let his blocks get set up. He has the speed to get to the edge and outrun defenders. Mataele also has great change of direction ability. He can also catch passes out of the backfield. This shift from bigger power backs to faster all-purpose backs is something I think we will continue to see in Utah’s recruiting with Troy Taylor at offensive coordinator. Overall, I really like this pickup. Mataele is a dynamic athlete, who should shine in Utah’s offense under Taylor.