Northridge RB on the Cougars' Radar

There are some quality running backs in the state of Utah this year, including Adam Timo and Levi Te'o, just to name a few. Northridge High School possesses an up-and-coming ball carrier that is currently being watched by the Cougar coaching staff.

Next season, 5-foot-10-inch, 210-pound Northridge athlete Peni Maka'afi hopes to accomplish on the football field what most junior football players have in mind: that is to simply blow it up, get noticed and received one of the few coveted Cougar scholarships available.

"I play running back and linebacker at Northridge High School," said the ever-confident Maka'afi. "I carried the ball around for 103 carries for about 890 yards. I had 12 touchdowns and my forty time is around 4.5, which is now consistent."

For someone of his size, Maka'afi puts up some impressive numbers in the weight room. The native Utahan of Tongan heritage spends quite a lot of time honing his physical abilities in the weight room in preparation for next season.

"I like to show great leadership both on the field and in the weight room," Maka'afi said. "That's just how I roll. I bench around 310 pounds and I squat 530 right now."

Although he's settled in at the running back position, Maka'afi's prep career didn't start out that way. Starting out on the defensive side of the ball, Maka'afi excelled at the linebacker position.

"I play linebacker because that is where I thought I would be recruited at for college," Maka'afi said. "Right now it's my second position behind running back. I really like to be physical and I really like to hit. I like to blitz a lot and my coaches use me to blitz on third downs."

Because of his speed, the Northridge coaches like to use Maka'afi on situational plays on the defensive side of the ball. This upcoming season, Maka'afi expects the coaches to use his speed and quickness to apply pressure on quarterbacks when needed.

"During my senior year I'll probably be playing on second and third downs," Maka'afi said. "I won't be playing all the time, but mainly in situational downs. On the offense, however, I won't be coming out."

According to Maka'afi, BYU and Boise State are both taking a look at him. He said that BYU is looking at him "really heavily," and he places BYU at the top of his list.

"BYU is my favorite right now because they're the ones that want me to convince them why I belong at BYU," said Maka'afi. "I feel it's kind of a place where I feel I belong. One of the reasons is character. I feel I can live up to the expectations that the coaching staff at BYU has set in order to be a part of that program. I just feel like BYU is the place for me. I know that there are other places out there, but I just think they don't know much about me yet.

"BYU hasn't offered me a scholarship yet," continued Maka'afi. "So right now I'm just working hard to prepare myself for next season and get my name out so I have options."

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