Post-Trip Update: Rey Maualuga

Eureka's Rey Maualuga, one of the most prized prospects in the nation for the class of 2005, made it down to USC this past weekend for an official visit and was among those in attendance at the Coliseum on Saturday for the big Trojan win over Notre Dame. WeAreSC caught up with the elite five-star linebacker to get his thoughts on the trip.

"Everything was great but the rain. Who would have thought that it would be raining in L.A?" Maualuga joked. "I got in there on Friday afternoon at around two. I was able to go to the meetings where they go through special-teams, and then I went to the defensive meeting. After that I checked into the hotel and hung out with my host, Fili Moala. That night we went over to Ryan Powdrell's house, he had everybody over there. I met Jonathan Stewart, Neefy Moffett, Kevin Ellison…all of those guys. Saturday we got up, ate breakfast, and we also met with the academic counselor and toured the campus. It's good because it's small, everything is right there. You don't have to go too far to get to your classroom. It's right down the street. After that we went to the class session. It's no wonder they're so good, they go over the same things over-and-over. They have to go over it all so that everybody has it down and so they don't make mistakes."

Up next for Maualuga was the Trojan-Fighting Irish game, and as he explains, the contest was an obvious highlight of the trip, "At the game, we got to walk through where all of the fans were. It was sweet having people be there, wanting to get a high-five or telling you ‘good luck.' The game was unexplainable. There's a lot of history to the Coliseum. Going in the locker room and then running out with football players, everyone was just screaming. You wish you could just pop the pads on and play."

"The game was tight. Although Notre Dame was up 7-0, SC didn't fall apart. Nobody was blaming anyone else. They just played like they've been playing the last couple of weeks. They played Trojan football and they never gave up. They came back in the second half and fought harder."

"After the game I got to meet Freddy [Matua]'s family and went back with the recruits and ate at the recruiting tent, and then we met up with the hosts and went out. We hung out at Lofa [Tatupu]'s house. He had his mom over, his girlfriend, and a bunch of friends, and everybody was playing poker, dominos, and having fun. Then today we went over to Manhattan Beach and ate."

Being recruited to play at the MIKE linebacker position, Maualuga also had plenty of time to talk to the Trojan coaches, "All of the coaches are just real, you know," he said. "They don't say the same line to every recruit. They aren't going to come and tell you, ‘Come to USC, you'll start, you'll play.' ‘If you love football, come do your thing, and if you're good, you'll play.'"

"I was talking with Coach Norton and Coach Seto, they were saying that I'm special and that the goal in the first two years is to be compared to Junior Seau, and then in my junior and senior years to go beyond that. I don't want to just go there and be compared to Seau, and ‘Seau this' and ‘Seau that.' I want to go and make a name for myself."

So did the visit leave an overall positive impression? "Yeah, it definitely opened my eyes," Maualuga said. "The thing is, they're saying that the best players play. So just come in, do your thing, and don't let up."

Despite the experience, Maualuga still isn't ready to commit anywhere and is torn between a few schools, "Its pretty close," he said. "It's Nebraska, Oregon, and SC. SC and Oregon are pretty tight. I'm just hoping to make my decision at the Army All-America Bowl." Maualuga has visited all three of his favorites now.

The next couple of weeks will also be vital in the Nor-Cal star's recruitment as he's set to have some key in-home visits, "Oregon is coming in on Tuesday, Nebraska is coming on Wednesday, and after the UCLA game, SC is going to come. So I'm going to bring my whole family here and I'll see what they think." Pete Carroll, Ed Orgeron, and Tim Davis are the Trojan coaches that are set to make the visit.

Maualuga, whose Eureka team lost in the first round of the CIF-NCS 3A playoffs back on November 20th, is also slated to play in this year's Cali-Florida Bowl. Top Stories