Oakland NIKE: Malepeai Talks Cal, Plus VIDEO

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. -- Running back Vavae Malepeai was one of the standout running backs at Sunday's NIKE event, and Cal saw his potential early, being one of the first schools to offer. How does that help the Bears, now that he's blowing up?

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. -- Vavae Malepeai trumpeted education at Sunday’s The Opening Regional in San Leandro, Calif., specifically citing Stanford, as well as one of his earliest offers – California.

“That’s one of the earlier schools, and that says a lot – I’m coming into my junior year, and they throw down an offer. That shows how much they believe in me,” said Malepeai. “I did take an unofficial there last year – that was my only unofficial – and I just went to the Junior Day at Stanford.”

Malepeai speaks the most, he says, with head coach Sonny Dykes, who took over his recruitment after the dismissal of former recruiting coordinator and running backs coach-turned-wide receivers coach Pierre Ingram.

These days, he also talks with Burl Toler, who’s been activated on the recruiting tail since Ingram’s dismissal. Toler made a trip out to Hawaii to see Malepeai and to shore up relationships in the Islands during the spring evaluation period.

This past season, the Bears rushed 440 times for 1,790 yards, up from 2013’s totals of 424 and 1,466. In 2013, Cal averaged 1.47 passing attempts per rushing attempt, but in 2014, that number was 1.22.

“As a running back, that’s what you want,” said Malepeai. “You want to run the ball. You want those touches, so that speaks a lot about them. How much a school wants you, and what they’re going to do with you is what you consider when you’re making a commitment, and that’s big-time. I love that school a lot.”

Malepeai said that he wants to have a top 10 soon -- which could very likely include his newest offer, USC – by the end of the summer.

Will the Bears make the cut?

“I think they’ll get in there, yeah, of course,” he said.

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