Aaron Maldonado (Blair Angulo)

3-star DL Maldonado Talks About UCLA Commitment

March 23 -- La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat defensive lineman Aaron Maldonado talked in-depth about why he committed to UCLA...

La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat defensive lineman Aaron Maldonado got the offer he had been hoping for in late February.


It was an offer from UCLA, the school Maldonado grew up watching and it came on an unofficial visit to Westwood.

The opportunity to play in front of his family, something he had always wanted to do, was right there for him.

So on Saturday, just a couple weeks after that visit, with his family flanking him, Maldonado got on his iPhone and to FaceTime with Bruin defensive line coach Angus McClure and committed to McClure, fulfilling a dream of becoming a Bruin.

It was on the visit where he landed the offer, that Maldonado knew where he wanted to be and who he wanted to play for.

"UCLA is just a great school," said Maldonado.  "I loved the campus when I went to visit.  On my visit, I just loved the way the coaches were with the players."

The proximity to home played a role in his decision.

"It's close to home so it will be nice for my family to come and see me play," said Maldonado.

Maldonado had other offers, but knew where he wanted to be and wanted to get his decision over with so he can prepare for early playing time.

"It's a big relief knowing that I'm going to college," said Maldonado.  "But at the same time, it's challenging because now I have to work even harder to play as a freshman."

Maldonado said that McClure was glad to land his verbal.

"Coach Angus was very happy," said Maldonado.  "It was nice to call and chat with him."

And Maldonado has been watching how McClure has been developing defensive linemen the past few years.

"The past years they've been putting really good defensive linemen in the first round of the draft, so it will be a good experience," said Maldonado.

Maldonado said he's going to turn into a recruiter now.

"I'm trying to recruit some really good linemen, especially (the No. 1 center in the country) Justin Dedich," said Maldonado.

Maldonado is excited about the opportunity to play for the Bruins.

"UCLA is a great school where I think I'll strive," said Maldonado.

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