Recently, Aaron Maldonado received his first division one scholarship from BYU. He can thank Antioch High School coach Mori Suesue for going an extra mile for a young man he never met. It was that help from Suesue that changed everything for Maldonado.
“Yeah, that was big time getting that offer from BYU,” said Maldonado. “I was at the Rivals football camp. That’s when a coach by the name of Mori Suesue noticed me and was really impressed by how I was doing. He put in a good word in for me to BYU. Then that’s when I got in contact with BYU and started getting recruiting attention from them.”
Coach Suesue coaches at Antioch High School in Antioch, California. That’s the same high school where the nation’s number one running back prospect, Najee Harris, attends He knows talent when he sees it.
“At the camp, before the one-on-ones, they were really impressed with my footwork and with how flexible I was for being a big, heavy guy. Everyone thought I was going to bull rush because of how big I was, but I didn’t bulrush one time and was using my footwork and technique.”
After the recommendation from Coach Suesue, the BYU recruiting team went to work doing their due diligence. It wasn’t long after the evaluation that Maldonado received his first division one scholarship offer and it was from BYU.
“Then I got the offer from BYU,” said Maldonado. “I just remember how exciting it was when that happened. It just felt really good knowing that all the hard work I did paid off. Getting that first offer is so surreal and so exciting!”
Maldonado has a variety of skill-sets and physical abilities that will allow him to play both ways this upcoming season for Bishop Amat High School.
“This past year I was just mainly just the starting nose guard, but this year coming up I’m going to play both ways,” said Maldonado. “I’ll play on offense and defense and that’ll be a good challenge for me. I’m 6-3, 310-pounds and will play guard. I’ve got the physical abilities to go both ways, so that’s what our coaches want to do.”
“When they offered me I think I was talking to three main coaches at BYU, but before they gave me the offer they wanted to wait because one of the coaches, Coach Tuiaki, was the one that wanted to offer me,” said Maldonado. “So, I talked with two coaches previously to him, but when I spoke to Coach Tuiaki on the phone during the recruiting period he said he was really impressed with my film. He seemed like a really cool guy and I like him a lot. He was the one that gave me my offer. He had seen the game film and other film as well. He was really impressed with me.”
After receiving his scholarship offer, Maldonado did some research on what BYU was all about.
“When I looked at BYU I saw that it was a Mormon school and they’re strict on specific conduct rules and I thought that was pretty cool,” said Maldonado. “It’s no different than what the coaches at my high school has. I’m at a private Catholic school right now, so our coaches incorporate all those things that BYU does because they want us to be better men. If I go to BYU then it won’t really change because I’ve already had that incorporated within me.”
There are three things Maldonado is looking for when it comes to a football program he wants to call home.
“Unity, like, brotherhood is big for me,” said Maldonado. “You have to be able to be unified and trust everyone or else there really is no team.
“The second thing I want to look for in a program is respect. I want to be around a team where everyone respects each other.
“The third thing I would look for in a program is the type of coaches that are there. I want coaches that are involved with the players and how they’re incorporated with the players. They have to be a part of the team as well both on and off the field. I don’t want coaches that are just about the football aspect, but that are coaches that can be mentors and father figures where I can always go to them.”
Being a young man who currently lives with his aunt who pays all the bills, Maldonado doesn’t want to place a burden on her. So, he’ll wait until his senior year to take his trips to college campuses due to financial reasons.
“I think I’ll wait to do all that stuff during my senior year, because I live with my aunt and we don’t have a lot of money,” Maldonado said. “She’s the one that takes me to camps when she’s able to, but it cost money and it isn’t cheap so I might have to wait until my senior year to do all that.”null