HAYWARD, Calif. -- Folsom (Calif.) linebacker Ariel Ngata is one of the more intriguing NorCal defensive prospects. Wearing Captain America gloves during the Passing Down 7on7 NorCal Regional, it's easy to see why they fit so well. He's the spitting image of Isaiah Bradley.
Ngata comes from a sporting family, with his father and mother both participating in NCAA sports. Ngata's father played soccer collegiately at Maryland and Nevada, while his mother ran track.
From an early age, Ngata was pushed into sports, but it wasn't until seventh grade that he picked up football.
"I wasn't really good at it," Ngata said. "I was a big soccer player, basketball for a little."
Ngata ran track as a freshman, clocking a 45-second 300m hurdles time, and a personal best of 55 seconds in the 400m. He also played basketball as a freshman. If there's one thing Ngata is, it's supremely athletic. This spring, though, he's not running off any weight.
"I was focusing on developing more as a football player, but I will pick it back up," Ngata said of track. "It's hard to maintain weight when I'm running the 400 and the 4x4."
Currenly, Ngata could project as an outside linebacker in a 3-4, or, if he puts on weight, a rush end in a 4-3. At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, he doesn't carry any bad weight, and he has loose hips and good instincts. That's why he's already received offers from BYU, Colorado State, Hawaii, UNLV, Utah, Washington and Washington State.
His offer from the Huskies is enticing, given his connection with former Bulldogs quarterback and current Washington starter Jake Browning.
"Washington, they're on top right now," Ngata said. "I just think I fit in. I have the same frame as most of the linebackers that have seen success in the program. Coach [Chris] Petersen is a great coach, him and coach [Bob] Gregory, there's just a lot of energy to them. I think that's what stood out the most."
There are others among his top group, as well.
"BYU, I've seen some of the dudes that have come out of the program," Ngata said. "Kyle Van Noy, I was a big fan of him when he came out of there. Also, Washington State. Those are my first three."
California has recently come on, inviting Ngata out to Elite Junior Day last month.
"Cal, I liked it, my dad liked it. The thing that got him the most was the academics and everything," he said. "Obviously, they showed their player projection -- how many players they send to the NFL -- so it was great. I liked the campus. I liked the college town all around it."
Ngata, who has a 3.03 GPA, said that he got to spend some time with defensive coordinator Art Kaufman, but because of the size of the group, didn't get to spend a lot of one-on-one time with him, but he did pick up a few tips.
"[They like me as] an outside linebacker. When we did player meetings, I went in with coach Kaufman and coach [Carlos] Alvarado, and we went over some linebacker film," he said. "He taught me a few things that I think I can use."
Though he doesn't yet have an offer, Ngata hopes to return to Berkeley in the future.
"They said they wished they spent more time with me at Junior Day, since there was a bunch of other players," he said. "Coach [Austin] Clark said that means I just have to take another visit down there .. They asked me to take another visit down there, so they're working toward something. I'm working on getting better every day."null