Missouri OL Says Cats #1

From Last Week - now we've learned Niko Mafuli, a three-star recruit, from University High in St. Louis, Mo., with plenty of scholarship offers has committed to the Wildcats. Mafuli will be a three-year varsity starter in 2006. This past season, Mafuli paved the way for Northwestern recruit Stephen Simmons and received all-state honors.

"I'm not in a hurry right now to make a decision," Niko Mafuli said.

"I can probably make a decision by the middle of my senior season. I'll say that Northwestern is definitely at the top of my list.

"If I did commit to Northwestern, I could play with Stephen (Simmons) again and that would be cool. Northwestern is a great school, the academics are phenomenal and the coaches are energetic."

Why is Niko Mafuli a special recruit? His was the last scholarship offered by former Northwestern coach Randy Walker before he passed last month..

"I have great memories of Coach Walker," Mafuli told Purple Reign.

"I was at camp this summer and I was pulled aside by one of the assistant coaches. He told me that he had good news for me and that I needed to go see Coach Walker in his office.

"I went up to Coach Walker's office and he was all business. He just said, I'm going to cut to the chase, I'm offering you a full scholarship to play football at Northwestern. You showed us everything we needed to see at camp and feel that you'd be a great fit for our program.

"That's what I'll always remember about Coach Walker. He was a NO BULL type of guy. He told you how it was no matter what. Coach Walker didn't beat around the bush."

Mafuli has been offered scholarships by Northwestern, Wisconsin, UNLV, Hawaii, Kansas and Missouri.

Mafuli has started at offensive and defensive tackle the past two seasons for University and he helped Stephen Simmons rush for a school record in 2005. Mafuli will most likely end up on the offensive side of the football at the next level.

"Northwestern is the only school that said defensive tackle to me but now they are re-evaluating things and it looks like if I committed to them that I'll probably end up on the offensive line.

"Right now I'm about 6-4 and 310-pounds, I'm ready to open some holes and pancake some defensive linemen."

Mafuli had 20 tackles and eight sacks on the defensive side of the football as a junior. He's being recruited by Kevin Johns. Niko carries a 3.0 GPA and scored a 27 on his ACT. No official visits have been scheduled as of yet.

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