Vavae Malepeai has jumped from 3 offers to 13 in the span of 6 weeks. For the most part, he has taken the offers in stride and played it all close to the vest. With a recent offer from UCLA, he did open up on his feelings towards the Bruins.
"I know that I want to visit UCLA soon," Malepeai shared with Scout. "Whether I get out there this summer for an unofficial or this fall for an official, I just know I'll be taking a trip to LA. I certainly need to learn more about the program, but I know there are some things I really like about the Bruins. The location is really nice for me. I'll play anywhere, but obviously, being from Hawaii, the location of LA is really nice. The weather is similar, the distance is easy by plane, and growing up UCLA and USC were both big deals."
The location of UCLA isn't the only thing that appeals to the versatile RB.
"Coach Kennedy Polamalu is also a huge draw for me," Malepeai explained. "He has a great reputation out here and I'd love to be coached by him. He's coached a lot of good players and done very well in the Pac-12 and NFL. I also know that Fred Ulu-Perry is going to UCLA and he is one of the best linemen to come from Hawaii. I am definitely interested in the Bruins."
UCLA isn't the only school that has caught the Mililani RB's attention.
"I'm keep all options open, but a few schools are interest to me," Malepeai claimed. "Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Stanford, Michigan, California, and Washington are all schools I'm looking into. All offers are a blessing, but obviously, at some point, I will have to start making decisions. I just need to do research, build relationships, and see where things stand heading into my senior year."
So what's the draw to Malepeai?
The first thing that jumps out after watching Malepeai's game tape is his versatility. He does everything at a high level. He has speed, vision, strength, good hands, agility, a nice pass blocking skill-set, and ability in the return game. He may not be elite at any one skill, but he is a very balanced back.
Malepeai has a handful of highlights where he carves up defenses and looks like a solid four-star back. The biggest question on tape is his speed and if he has that breakaway burst. He rarely shows it in pads, but ran a 4.44 40 at a recent Nike Combine, which has a handful of colleges hopeful.
Malepeai has a nice ceiling, with his versatility, but it is how high his floor is that is most intriguing. At 6 feet 200 pounds, it's hard to imagine Malepeai not translating well at the next level. He may not be a feature running back, but he could emerge as a nice change of pace back. In the evolving game of football his versatility is highly sought after. Beyond that, he has all the intangibles.
He is a work out warrior and nearly a 4.0 student. With his high character, work ethic, and diverse skill-set there is very little risk with recruiting Malepeai. He is already one of the top running backs to come from the Island, but with a big senior year, Malepeai could solidify himself at the top.
(Malepeai and Tua Tagovailoa showing off some hardware from the Oakland NFTC last summer)