Mateaki Has a New Leader

<b>Donny Mateaki</b> is a 6-6, 268-pound defensive end from Iolani High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Mateaki took an official visit to the <b>University of Washington</b> for many reasons, chief among them a reunion of sorts with a former teammate.

"First they checked me into a hotel and then we went to the Space Needle and had lunch," Mateaki told Dawgman.com tonight. "I talked to Coach Neuheisel and the rest of the coaches on the coaching staff. And just ate."

He also hooked up with current Husky Willie Kava. Kava and Mateaki were teammates at Iolani last year. "He was doing good," Donny said of his good friend. "He likes it up there. He said that it's been good for him but he told me to go where I feel comfortable."

Another reason Donny took his visit was to see the Husky football team in action, and he wasn't disappointed. "They were practicing in the new indoor facility," he said. "They hadn't been practicing in a while so they were just like getting back into it. Saturday was full pads. Everything's just a lot faster. I was impressed with how good the team was."

Donny liked the style used by his position coach, Randy Hart. "I liked the defensive line coach, Coach Hart," he said. "Once you do something wrong, he gets up in your face and tells you how to do it right, what you should be doing. I thought that was cool."

What did Donny think of his individual visit with Coach Hart. "It went good. "They said that when I come in I would be fighting for a starting spot right away." The rest of his day was a little less exciting. "We toured the campus and talked to some advisors, some professors," he said.

With the difference in climate from Hawaii to Washington, Mateaki wasn't feeling the heat he's normally accustomed to. "I thought it was alright, nothing big," Donny said of the weather. "Everywhere I've gone it's been something different. I'd say that was the only thing I didn't like but it's cold everywhere."

Donny's Saturday activities were memorable for one main thing. "Saturday night we all went over to Zach Tuiasosopo's house and hung out," he said.

And this morning? "We had breakfast as Coach Neuheisel's house," he said. "That was nice. We ate with his family."

Mateaki remarked at the sheer volume of food presented over the weekend. "Oh my gosh, they even feed you when you were full," he said. "I'd say the best meal I had was at the Met (Metropolitan Grill). I had the Porterhouse and the Lobster."

Donny also had a chance to talk to the Head Man one on one this morning. "He told me that he's not pressuring me and that he wants me to feel comfortable and if Washington's not for me I should let him know," Mateaki said. "But if I feel comfortable with Washington and I want to come that I could tell him anytime. There isn't any pressure about only having a couple of scholarships left. He said that I would have a scholarship available anytime."

Any thoughts of committing? "I told them that I'm going to take at least my Nebraska trip and then decide between Christmas and New Year's."

Colorado was thought to be the leader after his trip there, but Donny decided that he had a new leader tonight - the Washington Huskies. "I'd say they are at the top right now," he said.

He then gave kudos to Neuheisel and his staff. "I just like the way they are recruiting me," he said. "They aren't calling me every single day. They are relaxed. They tell me how much they want me but if you don't want if they are cool with that too. They've gained a lot of respect from me by the way they recruit."

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