Lineman likes five, Cats in current top-three

One of the top two-way linemen on the West Coast next year is Carson's (Calif.) Norris Malele. The talented lineman is getting looks on both sides of the ball and has a solid top five right now. The Wildcats seem to be a favorite and the lineman lists them favorably.

Malele, 6-2, 294 pounds was an All-State Underclass selection a year ago and is one of the top prospects on the West Coast. He started both ways as a junior, seeing action at defensive end as well as offensive guard.

"I prefer defense but some schools like me for offense," Malele said. "I'll play on either side of the ball, wherever the school I sign with wants me to play. Right now, I have a top five of UCLA, Arizona, Washington, Cal and Colorado.

"UCLA, Arizona and Washington all want me as a defensive tackle, Cal and Colorado like me for the offensive line. Everyone but Colorado has offered me, but (the others) said it's coming. I just need to call them so I'm not worried about it. UCLA and Arizona are recruiting me the hardest right now and those two along with Cal would be my top three."

Malele said he has given some thought to making an early decision, possibly in the summer, but is now leaning towards taking all five of his trips.

"I still want to commit early, even I take my trips, I still plan on committing before February," Malele said. "I want to take my trips early so I can get the decision out of the way. I don't plan on waiting until Signing Day or anything like that.

"Right now, I'm just looking for the best overall fit for me. I would love to stay close to home but only if that school is the best place for me. UCLA is looking good right now because they're local, recruiting me real hard and I like the coaching staff. I couldn't make their Junior Day because I had a church function but I talk to their coaches all the time and I'm comfortable there."

Malele's older cousin Mathew signed with Cal last year and that will give the Bears an edge down the stretch. He also said he's watching the situation with Rick Neuheisal at Washington closely and feels he deserves to stay at the helm.

"I like Coach Neuheisal. I've talked with him and feel he didn't do anything that would deserve getting fired," Malele said. "Washington is still Washington, it's a great school no matter what happens, but I do hope Neuheisal gets to stay and I would be disappointed if he was let go. I called him yesterday and talked to him for a little bit but he told me to call him back later in the week because there's so much going on with him right now."

Academically, Malele is carrying a 3.2 GPA and has scored a 960 on the SAT.

Greg Biggins is the West Coast recruiting expert for the Insiders. His stories can be read at RECRUITING.THEINSIDERS.COM

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