'Wrecking Machine' to do damage as frosh?

Donny Mateaki didn't waste any time in figuring out when he was going to call his new home away from home. Basically it was as soon as he could make it happen. For many Husky fans, the arrival of the 6-5 3/4, 267-pound defensive end, known affectionately as 'The Wrecking Machine', was one of the most anticipated of the fall, and now that he's here he's wasting little time in getting acclimated to life outside of Hawaii.

"I've been here about a month," Donny told Dawgman.com. "The food is no problem but getting used to the diversity was something. It's cool now. It only took me about a week or two to get used to it." The diversity issue was helped in part by the other Hawaiians on the team. "It makes the transition easier," he said. "Here there are players to show me the ropes to mainland lifestyles. They help me on what I should be doing and what I shouldn't be doing."

One thing that he wanted to do so very badly while he was still on the islands was eat. But the Husky coaches wanted Donny at a slim and trim 265 to take advantage of his aggressiveness and strength as a defensive end. "The coaches told me to try to stay where I was on signing day," he said. "It was hard to keep it off but I did it (laugh). I tried to cut back on food intake and tried to run a little more. My 40-time is around 4.7 right now."

He's looking for one meal in particular when camp is finished, one he'll take some pride in. "I went fishing with Joe Lobendahn," said Mateaki. "I caught a salmon and we have it in the freezer. We're saving it for after camp ends."

The recruitment of Donnie Mateaki was a contentious one, one made even more painful for the big Hawaiian by one of Washington's chief Pac-10 competitors, the Oregon Ducks. To Donny's way of thinking, they wouldn't take no for an answer. "It was frustrating," he said in regards to the recruiting process. "I had already made my decision and they still sent me a letter that said this and that about Washington. I just felt like it was over and they should get over it."

With Donny benching nearly 400 by the time camp started last week, there's a good chance he'll compete for playing time with Manase Hopoi, Graham Lasee and Mike Savicky. Right now, he's getting in his work and building up the confidence needed to play at this level. "I'm just coming in like I'll work hard and if I play I play, and if I sit out I sit out," he said. "I just want to do whatever is best for the team."

What might be best for the team is to keep reminding Donny of that letter.

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