DT Mathew Malele

Mathew Malele (Carson, CA) is unquestionably a priority recruit for Stanford in this class. He is not only an elite player at his position with freakish natural abilities, but he also falls in a position of huge need for the Cardinal in this class. Here is the latest from the LA Nike Camp, including the two schools atop his current list.

DT Mathew Malele (profile)
Carson (Carson, CA)
Ht: 6-0.5  Wt: 302
4.91 40; 5.03 shuttle
29 bench reps; 26.4" vertical

Mathew Malele has been making noise on the West Coast for over a year now as one of the most talented defensive linemen in the 2003 class.  He was named to the LA Times All-Star team this year ahead of a lot of senior defensive tackles, as well as second team for the state by CalHiSports.  Malele recorded 42 tackles on defense, and was also a big part of Carson's 3000+ rushing yards as a rock on the O-line.  Physically, he's not very tall but built like a tank.  He has a pair of tree trunks for legs, and a wide frame that can carry a lot of weight and muscle.  On the eyeball test alone, you'd have to give him a long hard look.  But when I saw him in drills and the 1-on-1 work against O-linemen, I was blown away.  It's just ridiculous that a kid that big and that wide can move so fast.  Malele is incredibly explosive and powerful, blowing past and through every guy they put him up against.  Speed is something he has worked on, and he's very proud to have lowered his 40 time to 4.9 from the 5.2-5.3 range.  And though you might read Mathew listed as 6'3" or 6'4", the beauty of the Nike camps is the standardized measurements and times.  He's just a shade over 6-foot.

His physical ability and nastiness when he is on makes Mathew arguably the best DT on the West Coast and likely one of the elite at his position in the entire country.  The one notable discount against all this is his reputation for taking some plays off, not bringing it every down.  Indeed, I saw one of the elite D-linemen in the senior class on the sidelines watching the camp - Fred Matua.  I talked with him about Malele, and he said the kid is an unquestionable star with only his consistency in the way.  Incidentally, Matua was sporting a Stanford basketball tee-shirt at the camp, which Booties will find amusing.  But back to the point, when he does bring it, Mathew Malele is such a force that he is on everybody's wish list... and right at the top of Stanford's.  Honestly, he is right up there with Reggie Bush as a top California recruit in this class, and maybe even more important given Stanford's scant numbers at defensive tackle.  I watched Lorenzo Alexander two years ago and Matua last year, and say that Malele is truly special.  I can't possibly overhype him.

By the way, Mathew was joined at the camp by his younger cousin, Norris.  Norris is just a sophomore (2004 recruiting class), with a big frame for his age, though not the widebody that his brother is.  He looks like a defensive end next to Mathew, but could also play tackle.  One to keep keep in mind this fall, especially if you're watching Carson to see Mathew play.  Norris is 6'2" and 248 pounds, ran a 5.20 in the 40 and 5.28 in the shuttle, and jumped 21" in the vertical.


Toward the end of the camp, I had a brief opportunity to chat with Mathew about his performance and his recruitment...

The Bootleg: So do you prefer to go by Mathew or Matt, by the way?
Mathew Malele: I actually have a nickname, one-zo?

The Bootleg: One-zo?
Mathew Malele: Yeah, "one" with a "zo."  I've had it since sixth grade.  It's a long story.

The Bootleg: How about the short version? (grin)
Mathew Malele: There was a rapper that came out in '90-something, and his name was Mac-Ten.  My name is Matt, and they called me "Matt-ten."  Then ten eventually went down to one-oh: "one-zo."

The Bootleg: How do you feel you did with the drills today?
Mathew Malele: Oh, I think I did real good.  6-and-0 in the one-on-one's?  You can't beat that.  The drills were cool.  You learn how to run your sprints.

The Bootleg: Is there anything you were able to pick up with technique from the coaches today?
Mathew Malele: A lot of things we did hear, our coach covers at school.  So I was already familiar with a lot of it.

The Bootleg: What were your numbers today, and were you happy with them?
Mathew Malele: I hit the 185 (bench) 29 times.  My vertical was a 26.4 and my fourty was a 4.91.  Yeah, I'm very happy with them.

The Bootleg: Now you're starting toward your senior season and your recruitment is picking up.  Who have you been hearing a lot from?
Mathew Malele: USC, Stanford, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Arizona State, UCLA - all the Pac-10's basically?

The Bootleg: Is there anyone you'd like to hear more from, someone you haven't heard from much yet?
Mathew Malele: No, not really.  All the schools I'm looking for are showing interest.

The Bootleg: Is there anyone in that list you would call a leader right now?
Mathew Malele: Right now, USC is #1.  Stanford is #2.  Those are my top two right now I'm looking at.

The Bootleg: Can you tell me what you like about USC?
Mathew Malele: The academics are good, second behind Stanford in student-athlete graduation.  That and the playing possibility is really good over here, since they're short on D-linemen.

The Bootleg: What do you like about Stanford?
Mathew Malele: Stanford most likely is the academics.  You graduate from college and things don't work out - well, everyone recognizes a Stanford diploma.

The Bootleg: Have you had a chance to take unofficial visits to either place yet?
Mathew Malele: I came to the junior day over here (USC), which was nice.  Went to the UCLA junior day, too.

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