Oregon picked up its 18th commitment today as Austin Maloata gave a verbal pledge to Mark Helfrich and the Ducks while on his official visit to Eugene. The 6'3, 270 lbs defensive end had previously been committed to USC and also had offers from Miami, Washington State, Arizona State, and Ole Miss.
Maloata is a three star recruit according to recruiting websites but like recent Duck commit Charles Nelson, he has an offer list that suggests his ceiling is much higher. Like Nelson, who spent his junior season nursing an injury, Maloata is under the radar because he only moved to the U.S. from Samoa in March. He quickly made an impact at summer camps, garnering interest and offers from ASU and USC, who he committed to in May. Now he says he wants to be a Duck. As he told 247sports this morning:
"I actually committed to Oregon on Wednesday when they were in my house," Maloata said. "I"m in Eugene right now, I'm actually in my hotel getting ready to take some tours and stuff. I'm going to be a Duck for the next four years."
"Honestly every school that recruited me were all great schools. I would say that my family and I both loved it at Oregon. Especially my dad, as long as he's happy I'm happy."
Maloata is one of several defensive line commits offered by Oregon since the departure of Nick Aliotti. The Ducks have been very aggressive about targeting kids with ties to the Pacific Islands and who can play inside on the line. Maloata could be an end or tackle and will add depth to an Oregon line that loses two starters and three off the two-deep to graduation.
Oregon is still in the hunt for several other players in this class, including defensive tackles Trey Leilaimatafao and Ratu Mafielo, safeties Khalil Oliver and Mattrell McGraw, and five star athlete John "JuJu" Smith. Signing day is Wednesday, February 5th.
Watch some of Austin Maloata's highlights here: