Maldonado to make a decision?

While Alejandro Maldonado kicked, the coaches watched. And the more he kicked, the more they liked what they saw. And why not? He made 19 of 20 field goal attempts. So after consulting with Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian, the Huskies offered the 5-foot-11, 190-pound P/PK from Colton, Calif. When he found out about the offer - his first - he was very excited by the news.

"They told my coach (Hugo Castellanos) that they were going to offer me," Maldonado said late Wednesday night. "They need a kicker right away, and I guess they were talking about me graduating early if possible and get started at the program at Washington."

Maldonado has not spoken to any Washington coach, but plans to as early as Thursday. "I'm going to tell them that I made a verbal commitment, and me going there as a full commitment will be when I talk to my parents and they are excited about the program," he shared. "My coach was telling me that a verbal commitment means I'm interested in the school. I want to open up my options, but I'm really interested in Washington. It's my first offer, and I can't wait to go out to the school and meet the coaches and the players."

"We think he is the best kicker in the nation," said Colton Head Coach Harold Strauss, who added that Maldonado was 8-8 from 40+ and 3-3 from 50+ as a junior while not missing an extra point. "What makes him so valuable is that he's as good a punter as he is a field goal kicker and kick-off artist. So he can do it all. He can kick it out of the end zone and he can hit from 65 off grass. He's just a competitor and the coaches here that have been to practice have been in awe. It was one thing to see him kick on film, but another to see him in person."

Maldonado said that OSU, ASU, UCLA, USC are schools that have shown him interest of late, but Washington's offer has definitely pushed them ahead of the pack. "He's familiar with the staff," Strauss said. "They were familiar with him when they were down here at SC.

"If they steal him from the southern California schools, I'll be impressed. And I think they did."

And while a commitment appears imminent, this battle is far from over. "I'm going to do my research," Maldonado said, noting that he's already a little familiar with UW because of Chris Polk and the other Redlands East Valley players that are currently in Seattle. "I'm going to get on the computer and look up Washington and see how their academics are and their majors and how their program is. I'm going to do my homework."

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