Santa Margarita High School (CA) do-it-all prospect Malone Mataele wasn’t on anyone’s recruiting radar except for one. BYU extended an early offer to the native Californian when Bronco Mendenhall was the Cougars’ head coach. Since then Kalani Sitake has confirmed to Mataele that his offer from BYU was still on the table.
“BYU was my first offer but it was the old staff that offered me, so with Coach Sitake there was confirmation that I still had that offer,” said Mataele. “It’s kind of interesting because BYU was my first offer under the old staff, but since then I’ve received 10 offers and Coach Sitake has since reconfirmed to me that my BYU offer was still on the table. So, BYU is both my first and tenth offer I guess.”
Playing on both sides of the ball, and even on special teams, Mataele is the utility player for Santa Margarita.
“I pretty much play everything at my high school,” said Mataele. “I play [everything from] running back, to nickel back, to defensive back, to being a return specialist. I guess I’m the guy that can pretty much do it all, so BYU is recruiting me as an athlete right now.”
It was last week when BYU wide receivers coach Ben Cahoon reconfirmed to Mataele that his original offer that was extended by Coach Mendenhall was still valid by the new staff.
“Well, the offer came to me [a few days ago] and I actually spoke with Coach Cahoon who is the receivers coach at BYU,” said Mataele. “I called him and we spoke on the phone and he broke down my situation on where I’m at with them. Then he offered me a scholarship offer to me.”
Upon hearing from Coach Cahoon that his BYU offer was still on the table, Mataele was excited because of his many ties to the university.
“I was excited about it!” said Mataele. “BYU is definitely a school that is at the top of my list. I’ve always loved BYU growing up and I’ve been out to BYU’s camps. I’ve always been around BYU and I’ve had family that have gone to BYU, so for me to get that offer from Coach Cahoon was definitely a blessing and opportunity for me.
“Me personally with BYU being in Utah, I have a lot of family out there and I’ve had family go and play at BYU. There’s a huge comfort factor knowing that I’ll be supported by my family if I go out to school out there and being coached by some great coaches and playing with people in whom I can trust.”
Because he’s had family play at BYU in the past and live in the state of Utah, Mataele knows quite a bit about what BYU has to offer.
“Yeah, I got pretty much everything on BYU and know all about the school,” said Mataele. “I’ve pretty much been recruited by BYU ever since the beginning, so I know a lot about the university and what it has to offer.”
Now he’s making an effort to develop a relationship with BYU’s new staff.
“I’m just starting to build a relationship with the coaches on the staff,” said Mataele. “I feel like BYU’s coaching staff has a lot of energy. Coach Sitake brings a lot of fire to the program and gets his players going. One thing I noticed about Coach Sitake is that he gets his players playing 100 percent for him, and that is something that I really look for in a coaching staff. I want that type of coaching staff that brings everything out of their players and that’s what Coach Sitake does with his players.”
As previously noted, Mataele has 10 scholarship offers from notable college programs.
With so many options on the table, Mataele has a few ideas concerning what will sway him for his services. He wants to be a part of a university possessing outstanding academics and be a part of a program that will allow him to showcase his talents early.
“You know with me the biggest factor is going to be playing time and when I can play,” Mataele said. “I want to get to a program and come in and play right away. I don’t want to redshirt and sit out. I want to come in and show people what I’ve got and make a contribution to a program as soon as possible.
“Obviously I want to choose a program that has solid academic that can help me after football. I know football isn’t going to be forever, so I want to go to a school that will help me after I graduate. I want tobe set with that degree and I think that would be the program for me.
“From a social standpoint and location-wise, I don’t care. I’m not too picky about that part. I just want to go to a place where I can fit in and feel comfortable and that’s pretty much about it.”
Mataele will be hitting the road this spring and summer, making unofficial visits to the schools he has offers from.
“Yeah, I’m starting to plan all my visits and I’m talking to my coaches and my parents about that,” said Mataele. “I want to have a plan for spring and summer to hopefully get out and check out some of these campuses.”
At the end of the day, despite having so many options, Mataele believes BYU will stack up well when he decides to make his final decision.
“I think BYU will stack up really high for me at the end of the day,” said Mataele. “I’m starting to build a relationship with them and that will also play a big part of my final decision. Definitely at the end of the day when I make my final decision I can see BYU being one of the top schools on my list.”