WSU added another player to its 2014 recruiting class on Monday when Hercules Mata'afa of Lahainaluna High School in Lahaina, Hawaii committed to play for the Cougars, as first reported by Cougfan.com.
Mata'afa is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound defensive end who is rated a three-star prospect by both Rivals and ESPN; he is rated a two-star prospect by Scout and is unrated by 247sports. He reportedly also held offers from Oregon State, San Diego State and New Mexico State.
Like many undersized defensive ends with some natural speed recruited by WSU, it would appear Mata'afa perhaps profiles as a Buck linebacker -- the hybrid OLB/pass rusher in Mike Breske's 3-4 defense. In fact, that's how ESPN sees him ($):
Mata'afa needs further development in areas and will likely need to adjust to a more sizeable jump in competition as he looks too often enjoy a good size advantage, but he flashes some upside. We don't see an immediate contributor but some natural tools to develop that could allow him to develop into a productive college defender as a DE or potentially in a OLB hybrid role.
Not every Buck at WSU is that size; WSU started two players at Buck this year, and while Kache Palacio (6-2/225) fits that mold, Destiny Vaeao (6-4/290) most certainly does not. However, it's tough to see where else he'd play, as Breske doesn't seem to prefer tall players at the traditional linebacker positions.
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