Ducks pluck another one from USC, 3-star defensive lineman

The Trojans were his dream school, but sometimes dreams have to be adjusted.  After he relocated from American Samoa last March to Centennial High in Corona, California, Austin Maloata jumped at a USC offer in May.

Ed Orgeron liked his size and quickness, the way he charged out of a three-point stance with a low, flat back, hand-fighting like a warrior, spinning and darting to the quarterback. He ran like a linebacker and played to the whistle. Already 6-3, 248 by the age of 16, he’d reached 260 as a senior, with the frame and work habits to add good weight.

Maloata’s father had always dreamed of his son playing for the Cardinal and Gold, his favorite college team, the school of Troy Polaamalu and Rey Maualuga, the great Polynesian stars.

Austin adjusted quickly in the move, a promising defensive lineman rated 3-stars by the services, thriving in tougher competition at Centennial, the school of Will Sutton and Vontaze Burfict, one of the premier programs in Southern California. He quickly bonded with teammates and became a leader, on a squad that featured several D-1 prospects, including Cal-committed running back Tre Watson, wide receiver Barry Ware, defensive ends Jaylen Johnson and offensive lineman Viane Talamaivao, who was also pledged to SC.

His coach at his new school, Matt Logan, told Gerard Martinez of, “When they offered him, he was really emotional about it. It took him a minute to gather himself. At first, I asked him, ‘If any school was to offer you, what would be your dream school?’ His answer was USC.”

In pads, Maloata was powerful and quick. He earned Inland Division All-CIF honors as Centennial battled to a 12-3 mark last fall, losing to powerhouse St. John Bosco in the regional final, Logan said of his coveted transfer tackle, “He plays with a lot of energy, he has a high motor and is a big, athletic kid,” said Logan. “You see the enthusiasm he has. What surprised me is that right from the get go, he was taking the role of a leader.”

His future looked bright, and set, until the Trojans passed over Orgeron in December and hired Steve Sarkisian from Washington, a coach who had never won more than 9 games in five seasons as a head man at UW. Maloata had less and less contact with his chosen school, and decommitted just two weeks ago after an agonizing period of soul-searching and waiting for a clear answer. The Trojans, with a new coaching staff and grand ambitions, were moving on. Reluctantly he opened up his recruiting, and immediately the 3-star got offers from Washington, Arizona State and Washington State, all eager to scoop up a talented island strong man with tremendous potential and a good attitude.

He told Ryan Knowles of 247 Sports, “I’m just disappointed how slowly I left the picture after I was a committed since the first day USC offered me.”
Middle of this week, the Oregon coaches snuck him into Eugene for an official visit.

He loved the school, the atmosphere, the players and the facilities, the opportunity to compete to play right away. He felt at home. His dad was sold, a fresh start with a coaching staff that really wanted him in a program that competed with the best nationally.

He committed to the Ducks on Friday, first reported by Duck Territory and Duck Sports Authority.

Austin Maloata is now a Duck, a surprise commitment that could fill a critical need. Already strong and quick, the product of elite training at Prime Time Polynesian, a camp circuit run by former Utah Player Pene Talamaivao that specializes in developing big guys for next-level opportunities.

The work has paid off, for a fierce player with a big upside. Watch how he uses his hands and battles, play after play. With continued hard work and coaching, he’ll grow into a solid replacement for Taylor Hart and Wade Keliikipi.

Junior highlights, from Leone High in American Samoa:

Senior highlights at Centennial:

Additional senior film:

Print Friendly

 Volunteer Position Openings:

  • Basketball Writer: Do you know the game and love to think about the upcoming season for our beloved Ducks?  Write about them!  It's fun doing homework on a winner!
  • Assistant Football Analyst: Love college football and enjoy watching it for hours? We need associates to view games and find the techniques/teaching points we identify for them in advance.  You will be recognized in publications, and could have the opportunity to move to full Analyst.
  • College Football Analyst: We are looking for Coaches, or retired coaches to help create analysis videos (we do the video part) that will be viewed by thousands, and will help young football players as well as fans understand the game much better. The national recognition will help your resume' as well as make an impact upon the game we all dearly love.
  • Video Specialist: We are looking for help in the Eugene/Springfield area to assist with the shooting and editing of analysis videos.
  • All Positions: Send a resume' with full contact information and any writing samples you have to  Again, these are volunteer positions donating five hours a week each.

FishDuck Staff

FishDuck Staff

These are articles where the writer just had a few, or for some reason did not want their name on it any longer--so we assigned it to "staff." We are grateful to all the writers who contributed to the site through these articles.