5-Star EDGE Prospect Matayo Uiagalelei Commits to Oregon over Ohio State and USC

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 21, 2022

Photo Credit: Greg Biggins, 247Sports

The next Uiagalelei knows where he will play college football.

Matayo Uiagalelei, who is the younger brother of former Clemson and current transfer portal quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei, announced he will join the Oregon Ducks as part of their 2023 recruiting class on Wednesday.

Chris TreviΓ±o @ChrisNTrevino

SJB head coach Jason Negro announces for 5-star EDGE Matayo Uiagalelei that he is committing to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Oregon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Oregon</a> over USC and Ohio State <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/nationalsigningday?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#nationalsigningday</a> <a href="https://t.co/lWzfCrM2me">pic.twitter.com/lWzfCrM2me</a>

Hayes Fawcett @Hayesfawcett3

BREAKING: Five-Star EDGE Matayo Uiagalelei tells me he has Committed to Oregon!<br><br>The 6'5 265 EDGE chose the Ducks over USC and Ohio State.<br><br>Oregon lands back to back 5-stars in a span of 10 Minutes 🀯<a href="https://t.co/FHYx7HBluK">https://t.co/FHYx7HBluK</a> <a href="https://t.co/5icTIXVDDD">pic.twitter.com/5icTIXVDDD</a>

The news came after another 5-star recruit, safety Peyton Bowen, also announced his commitment to Oregon.

Uiagalelei, who checks in at 6'5" and 265 pounds, is a 5-star prospect, per 247Sports' composite rankings. He is also the No. 31 overall player, No. 5 edge rusher and No. 4 player from the state of California in his class.

He was recruited by the likes of Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson and Texas, which is a who's who list of some of the best programs in all of college football. In December, he trimmed his list to the Buckeyes, USC and Oregon.

It is no surprise the Tigers initially drew interest given his family's connections, but the fact the other annual College Football Playoff contenders were also in on his recruitment hints at his potential.

Uiagalelei played tight end and defensive end at the high-school level, even though he projects to play on the defensive side in college.

The athleticism that helps him run routes as a pass-catcher also allows him to blow past offensive tackles off the edge on defense. Throw in the strength to bulldoze his way through blockers and throw off the rushing attack or passing game, and it is easy to envision him as a defensive game-changer for the Ducks.

He stood out at multiple camps featuring some of the best prospects in the country while showing off that combination of physicality and explosiveness.

Uiagalelei figures to only get better as he enters a college program and adds even more strength while honing his game.

If he does, he can become one of the country's most dominant defensive playmakers early in his career for Oregon.

The Ducks looked like possible Pac-12 title contenders at times during head coach Dan Lanning's first year in 2022, but the defense proved to be a problem at times. It allowed 49 points to Georgia, 37 points to Washington and 38 points to Oregon State in its three regular-season losses, which prevented it from competing for a conference crown.

Consistently landing defensive playmakers like Uiagalelei is the best way to avoid such performances in the future.