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Hercules Mata’afa is flying under the radar, and he’s fine with that

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WSU’s former defensive lineman is ready to prove himself in the NFL.

Former Washington State Cougars defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa will be drafted into the NFL this month, but he may not go as early as his production would indicate.

In an article for CBS Sports, Mata’afa provided some insight on how he has gotten here, and what’s next in his career. While he led the Pac-12 in tackles for loss and sacks in 2017, NFL scouts have some questions about his ability to play at the next level. But that doesn’t appear to be a major concern of his.

“They didn’t really look at me coming out of high school. They’re not really looking at me now. I’ve been doubted my whole life,” Mata’afa wrote. “I’m going to go out there and show them that I can play. I don’t care where I get drafted, I’m just going in there to prove I can make the team and show what I can bring to that team.”

One concern about Mata’afa is over the position he will play professionally. He played on the interior of the defensive line for the Cougs, but because he’s undersized, NFL teams seem him playing on the edge, While Hercules is experienced rushing the quarterback, the pro game will require an adjustment.

Since the NFL Scouting Combine, Mata’afa has returned to Maui to train. Instead of working on getting bigger or stronger, the former Coug has focused his time on boxing to refine with his technique.

Check out the rest of the article here and tune into the NFL Draft April 26-28 to see where Hercules will be playing next season.

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Football:

My Life As An NFL Draft Prospect: Hercules Mata’afa « CBS New York
Today, we check in with Washington State defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa. Originally from the island of Maui, Hercules wasn’t highly recruited out of high school, but he dominated in his three years for the Cougars racking up 121 tackles, 45.5 for loss, and 21 sacks.

Washington State offensive line could be binded by tackles with lots in common | The Spokesman-Review
The players who could bookend Washington State’s offensive line this fall have much more in common than a shared “offensive tackle” title.

NFL Draft 2018: Luke Falk is the most prolific QB. It’s his problem too - SBNation.com
Falk might wait until Day 3 to be picked, and there’s a good reason.

Redshirt Rookies: 2018 NFL Draft Prospects Who Need Time to Develop | Bleacher Report
There's a top-heavy feel to the quarterback class heading into the 2018 draft. Which is why finding a passer with enough promising attributes to hope and dream on in the later rounds might be a more difficult challenge than usual. Luke Falk could be a solution to that problem if he lands in the right situation.

Baseball:

Oregon Ducks baseball knows hits will be hard to find during rainy weekend against Washington State at PK Park | Sports | Eugene, Oregon
With a forecast so frightening that Oregon had to adjust its schedule against Washington State, not many balls are likely to fly out of PK Park this weekend.

Cougs look to fix road woes at UO | Sports | lmtribune.com
WSU baseball now hits the road for a three-game series against Oregon, starting with a doubleheader today in Eugene.