Aaron Maldonado (Brandon Huffman)

UCLA Commitment Analysis: DT Aaron Maldonado

March 20 -- Scout takes a look at what UCLA is getting in La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat defensive tackle Aaron Maldonado...


Profile: Aaron Maldonado

Position: Defensive Tackle

Location: La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat

Height: 6-3

Weight: 287  

Recruiting: Committed to UCLA over offers from BYU and California among others.


The Scouting Report: Maldonado landed his first offer a year ago, from BYU, when he was a sophomore and as an offensive lineman.  But schools shifted their attention on Maldonado to defense and he flourished there as a junior.  We've seen Maldonado twice this spring, at the Under Armour Camp in February and last week's The Opening Los Angeles regional. At the UA Camp, Maldonado got to perform in front of Bruin defensive line coach Angus McClure, who was there watching his son at the same camp.  Last weekend, Maldonado showed some great upside. For his size, he moves really well and has good quickness with plenty of agility.  What really caught our attention was the effort and energy he showed. Often times at these camps, players with offers generally coast and don't take it as serious, but Maldonado was always the first in every drill, taking coaching to the side and getting as many reps as he could.  He's still raw as a defensive lineman since he started as an OL, but he showed an eagerness to improve and learn at the position.

Overall Analysis:  Like we said, Maldonado got to work out in front of Angus McClure at the UA Camp in mid-February. A few days later, Maldonado took an unofficial visit to UCLA and was offered by his childhood favorite, tweeting out an emotional picture upon receiving the offer from McClure (above).  Cal had also offered Maldonado, but the Bruins were his favorite school growing up and were always going to be tough to beat.  A year after landing a pretty good 1-2 punch at defensive tackle with Greg Rogers and Martin Andrus, McClure is back at it, landing a quality interior lineman, who's pretty athletic and plays at a storied high school program.  The 2018 defensive tackle class in the west is nowhere near what last year's was, but the need to still grab a good DT or two is always there and McClure did a good job in getting one, and getting him early.  Maldonado is the third commit to the Bruins in this class, all on defense, joining Isaiah Johnson and Jhevon Hill, and figures to be an active recruiter too.  He has tremendous upside and his best football is still ahead of him, so in all, this is a good pickup for the Bruins in this class.

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